Sometimes, elections to a Hall of Fame requires no debate. Such was the case on Wednesday when the Royals announced Mike Sweeney was the latest inductee into the Royals Hall of Fame. A no-doubt, slam dunk if ever there was one.
Let’s just lay some bullet points out there to summarize his career with the Royals:
— A .299 batting average, third-highest in franchise history.
— His .369 OBP is tied with George Brett for seventh place.
— Sweeney’s .492 slugging percentage is second-highest in team history, trailing only Danny Tartabull’s .512.
— His 197 home runs are second most as a Royal.
— He tallied 2,296 total bases with the Royals. That’s the sixth most in team history behind guys like Brett, Otis, White, McRae and Wilson.
— Finally, his adjusted OPS+ is 120, which is seventh-highest all-time for the Royals.
Quite a resume.
Sweeney had the misfortune of playing for some of the most dreadful teams in Royals history. He took a ton of grief for his contract, which kicked in to maximum value around the time his body started to break down. But he cared, he worked hard, and he gave everything he had to the team, his teammates, and this city. I wish it could have turned out differently for him. I wish he could have played on some decent Royals teams. But the guy still had a stellar career.
I spotted Sweeney on the field at The K before one of the World Series games and was thrilled he made it back. Although he never played in the postseason as a Royal, for me he’s an inner-circle Royal. One of the greats who stands along side Brett, White, Otis, Saberhagen and Appier. For him to remain connected to this organization is important.
It turns out, Sweeney is going through a difficult time. His father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer on New Year’s Eve and is currently undergoing treatment. Cancer sucks. We rooted for Sweeney for several years. Now it’s time to root for his dad. As happy as I am for Sweeney to get into the Royals Hall, I’m hopeful that his father will be healthy enough to accompany Mike and his family to The K on the date he is officially honored. That would make the ceremony complete.
Watch this video from The Kansas City Star to see how much this honor means to Sweeney.
A great player. An even better man. I hope there’s a full house at The K when Sweeney is inducted. He and his family deserve this tribute.