MLB: Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals

Home Run Kings

Thirty-six.

That is the Kansas City Royals’ team record for most home runs in one season. Thirty-freaking-six.

Of course, we all know the holder of that record is Steve Balboni from the 1985 World Series Champions. Many of you also know that when Mike Moustakas clubbed his sixth homer of the season, he surpassed Balboni’s five April home runs in his record year. In hitting six (now seven) in April, Moustakas became the 14th Royal to reach that mark in the season’s first month and the first to do so since the immortal Jose Guillen hit seven in April of 2010.

The player residing in second on the all-time Royals’ season leader list, Gary Gaetti, is not one of those fourteen. ¬†Gaetti mashed 35 home runs in the late-starting 1995 season and did so in 137 games. I was pretty mad at baseball back in 1995, what with the World Series being cancelled the year before, and Gaetti’s big season was completely absent from my memory. Three players have hit 34 home runs in a season: Danny Tartabull (1987), Dean Palmer (1998) and John Mayberry (1975). Tartabull and Mayberry each hit just one home run in April of those season. Palmer, on the other hand, had the second highest April total in team history by smashing 9 home runs as part of a .337/.368/.683 month that also included 4 stolen bases.

The most home runs in April? That mark belongs to Jermaine Dye who hit 11 dingers (and slugged .847 for the month) in 2000. He would end up with 33 home runs on the year, which ranks him sixth all-time for the Royals.

There were four other 30 or better home run seasons. Bo Jackson in 1989 (in 135 games), Tartabull again in 1991 (31 in just 130 games), George Brett in 1985 and Chili Davis in 1997 (140 games). Let’s take a moment and remember just how good Danny Tartabull was for a time. In his two 30+ home run seasons, Danny had on-base percentages of .390 and .397. Only Brett (.436) and Mayberry (.416) posted better on-base percentages in a 30 home run season than Tartabull.

Let’s get back to April, however.

Of the ten seasons mentioned above, only Bo Jackson hit more home runs (8) in April than Mike Moustakas. That tells us two things. First, Moose is off to a great start when it comes to home runs and second, most of the best power seasons in Royals’ history did not start with great Aprils.

Mark Quinn had a great April in 2001. He hit 9 home runs, hit .324, had a triple and four steals. My God, he even walked four times! He ended up with just 17 homers in 117 games and walked just 8 more times the rest of the season. Carlos Beltran had a fantastic April back in 2004: hitting 8 home runs, walking SEVENTEEN times and stealing 7 bases. He ended up with 38 home runs that year, but sadly hit 25 of them for the Houston Astros.

Another great April belonged to Mike Sweeney, who hit 8 in 2000 on his way to 29 total in what was one of the better offensive seasons of any Royal. Mike would hit come back to hit 6 home runs in 2001 – becoming only the second player (with Dye) to hit six or more in April twice – but would end up with 29 round-trippers for the year, again.

Jeff Bell would hit six one April, as did Jeff King. Bob Hamelin hit 6 in 1994 (with a .432 OBP) and would end up with 24 in just 101 games on his way to winning Rookie Of The Year. Oh, there rears the head of that stupid strike once more.

Kirk Gibson is the fourteenth and final player to hit six home runs in April for Kansas City. He did so in 1991, but ended up with just 16 home runs in 132 games that season.

Six hundred words pretty much is all it takes to cover the history of big home run seasons in Kansas City. There’s a chance, just maybe, that Mike Moustakas might add to that word count by the end of 2016.

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