In December of 2014, Kendrys Morales signed a $17 million, two-year contract with the Kansas City Royals.
In those two seasons, Morales belted 52 home runs and collected 199 RBIs, while helping the Royals secure their first World Series Championship since 1985.
But after two years, Morales, 34, left Kansas City to sign a three-year, $33 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Morales, who is hitting .268 with 15 home runs and 43 RBIs, returned to Kauffman Stadium Friday night for the first time since he and the Royals parted ways.
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Morales went 0 for 3 but scored Toronto’s first run on a Troy Tulowitzki double after being hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. Morales is not in Saturday’s starting lineup.
“I have to thank the fans for all the support they gave me through the years I was here,” Morales said through an interpreter Saturday. “It was nice to come back here and it’s always nice to be loved.”
While fans may have loved Morales for his power and clutch hitting, Royals manager Ned Yost remembers him for his ability to make everyone laugh on any given day.
“He’s such a personal guy, and he was such a big part of our club the last couple of years,” Yost said on Friday. “He’s just fun to be around, you know, he’s one of those guys that everyone loved and everyone loved to be around him. He was always the first one in the locker room every day playing his Frank Sinatra music in the corner.”
Prior to Friday’s series opener between the Blue Jays and Royals, Morales popped into the Royals clubhouse. Yost heard the players cheer the moment he walked through the doors.
“I still have a lot of friends here,” Morales said. “For me, it was something really important to me to go back over there and talk to the guys. I wish I would’ve had more time to talk to the guys, but it was just nice to be out there with them and be able to catch up.”
Morales, who hit .254 with 4 home runs and 10 RBIs in the 2015 playoffs, said winning the World Series was the best moment during his tenure as a Royal.
“The most important thing for me was winning the World Series here,” Morales said. “Two or three weeks after we won, I still couldn’t believe it.”