Joe Gordon, the skipper of the 1969 Royals, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today by the Veterans Committee for his accomplishments as a player. Gordon played from 1938-43 and 1946-50 for the Yankees and Indians. He won the 1942 AL MVP by batting .322 with 18 home runs and 103 RBI with the Yankees. Gordon missed the ’44 and ’45 seasons due to World War II. He returned to play five more seasons, the last four in Cleveland. Gordon finished with nine All-Star selections, 253 home runs, 975 RBI, and a .268 average.
Gordon went on to manage the Indians in 1958. He was involved in baseball’s only trade of managers in 1960 when the Indians dealt him to the Tigers for Jimmy_Dykes. Gordon started the 1961 season as the manager of the Kansas City Athletics. In 1969, he became the first manager of the Royals. He is the only person to manage both the Kansas City Athletics and the Kansas City Royals.
Another great event has been added to FanFest weekend…a baseball awards dinner. The January 16 event at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel will be the first awards dinner held by the Royals since 2001. Kansas City’s 2008 award winners, Pitcher of the Year Joakim Soria, Player of the Year Mike Aviles, and Special Achievement winner Zack Greinke will be honored. Ten additional honors, listed below, will be presented.
Matt Minker Award – recognizing an outstanding minor league affiliate employee
Art Stewart Scout of the Year - recognizing an outstanding scout
Dick Howser Player Development Person of the Year – recognizing an outstanding member of player development
Mike Sweeney Award - recognizing a player who best represents the organization on and off the field
Willie Wilson Base Runner of the Year - recognizing the organization’s top base runner
Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year - recognizing the organization’s top pitcher
George Brett Hitter of the Year - recognizing the organization’s top hitter
Ewing Kauffman Mr. Baseball Award – recognizing an overall contribution to baseball in the Kansas City area
Frank White, Willie Wilson, and Mike Sweeney will all be on hand to present awards. Ticket information for the awards dinner will be announced at a later date, as will the award winners. Check back for more details!
General Manager Dayton Moore will participate in a Royals Relay chat at 3 p.m. CT, today, Dec. 2. Moore has already engineered two major trades this offseason, and with the Winter Meetings starting next Monday in Las Vegas, the hot stove could continue to simmer. Have your questions ready!
This just in…the Royals have offered arbitration to free agent second baseman Mark Grudzielanek. The veteran second baseman has until 11 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7 to either accept or reject the arbitration offer.
Grudzielanek batted .299 with 3 home runs and 24 RBI in 86 games for the Royals in 2008. ‘Grud’ collected his 2000th career hit on July 12 versus Seattle. He did not play after suffering a sprained right ankle in an August 1 collision with Ross Gload.
December begins with wintry temps here in Kansas City. That has us thinking about SPRING. The Royals announced their 2009 Spring Training schedule today. Pitchers and catchers will report to Surprise on February 13 – just ten and a half weeks from today! Close your eyes for a second and you can almost hear to crack of the bat and the pop of the mitt while the Arizona sun warms your skin. Nice, isn’t it?
The Royals have 17 home games during the spring, plus three ‘road’ games in Surprise against the co-tenant Texas Rangers. Don’t miss Kansas City’s matchups with the newest Cactus League teams, the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers. K.C. plays a matinee against Cleveland on March 3. L.A. ventures to Surprise for an evening affair on March 20.
Kansas City will finish the spring slate with road tilts in Texas. The first game will be on April 3 at the Rangers’ Double-A facility in Frisco, and the final tune up takes place on April 4 at Rangers Ballpark.
A trip to Spring Training or Royals Fantasy Camp is the perfect holiday (or post-holiday) gift. Individual Spring Training game tickets will go on sale Jan. 3, 2008 beginning at 9 a.m. CT. Just slip a little IOU note in their stocking. The tickets will be on sale at the Surprise Stadium Box Office, through Royals.com or by calling 480-784-4444 or 520-321-1000. Season ticket packages are available now by calling 623-222-2222.