The idea seems preposterous these days.
A player builds a Hall of Fame career — and never leaves his original, small-market team.
In other words, a George Brett career.
When Brett stepped down as the Royals’ interim hitting coach last week, he addressed the notion of longevity and loyalty to a franchise with a question.
“Where was I going to go?” he said.
To Boston? Why? Through most of Brett’s career, the Royals were a better team than the Red Sox.
Home to California? In 21 years, the Angels finished with a better record than the Royals five times.
) New York and sport the hated pinstripes?
Well, if the Yankees backed up a Brinks truck
“Back then, if the Royals were going to offer me $10 million and the Yankees were going to offer me $30 million, what do you think I would have done?” Brett said. “I probably would have left.”
Instead, the Royals were the ones offering top dollar. And Brett not only made Kansas City his home, he authored some of the franchise’s most joyous moments against the Yanks, like his titanic home run off Goose Gossage that clinched the 1980 American League championship.
Brett said he never felt trapped in Kansas City because — as difficult as it is to fathom after nearly two decades of franchise malaise — the Royals provided Brett with all he wanted in a baseball career. Specifically a great competitive environment and plenty of cash. Today, the pay scale has mushroomed thanks to free agency, but those reasons for one-team, long-term service have’t changed.
Why stay with the Royals?
“Why not?” Brett said.