In 1980, the company that manufactures Louisville Slugger bats began handing out Silver Slugger Awards to the best offensive players at each position in the American League. In the nearly four decades since, just one Royals first baseman had claimed the award.
You may be surprised to know that player was George Brett, the Hall of Fame third baseman who won the award at first base in 1988. It was less surprising perhaps that the second Royals first baseman to win the award was Eric Hosmer on Thursday evening.
Hosmer, 28, earned the hardware after batting a career-high .318 with a .385 on-base percentage and .498 slugging percentage in 2017. He finished among the American League leaders in hits (second), batting average (third) and on-base percentage (fourth) while recording the finest season of his career.
Hosmer, who became a free agent earlier this month and is preparing to cash in on the open market, became the seventh American League first baseman to earn a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award in the same season, joining Adrian Gonzalez (2011), Mark Teixeira (2005 and 2009), Rafael Palmeiro (1998), Don Mattingly (1985-87), Eddie Murray (1983-84) and Cecil Cooper (1980).
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The Silver Slugger Award winners are voted on by Major League Baseball managers and coaches. Those that cast ballots are not allowed to vote for players on their own teams.
Hosmer also became the 10th Royals player overall to win a Silver Slugger and the first since Salvador Perez last season.
Royals all-time Silver Slugger Award winners
George Brett – 1980, 1985 and 1988 (1980 and 1985 at third base; 1988 at first base)
Willie Wilson – 1980 and 1982 (outfield)
Hal McRae – 1982 (designated hitter)
Frank White – 1986 (second base)
Gary Gaetti – 1995 (third base)
Dean Palmer – 1998 (third base)
Billy Butler – 2012 (designated hitter)
Kendrys Morales – 2015 (designated hitter)
Salvador Perez – 2016 (catcher)
Eric Hosmer – 2017 (first base)