Royals Uniform History: 21

On Thursday, June 14, the Royals host Milwaukee and it is “Frenchy Quarter Thursday” in honor of #21, Jeff Francoeur.  You can reserve your seat in right field for $21.  The ticket includes a Frenchy Quarter T-shirt and Mardi Gras beads (blue, of course).   For more information, visit

Frenchy has worn 21 since joining KC last year.  Let’s look back at the history of #21 with the Royals:

Catcher Buck Martinez (left) made his Major League debut on June 18, 1969, becoming the first Royal to wear 21.  Buck would wear number 6 from 1970-71 and 42 in 1973 before returning to 21 from 1974-77.  That left 21 available for former Kansas City A’s pitcher Aurelio Monteagudo (1970) and manager Bob Lemon (1972).

Martinez and Mark Littell were traded to St. Louis for Al Hrabosky in 1977.  That left the number open for Art Kusnyer (1978), Eduardo Rodriguez (1979) and Jeff Twitty (1980).

Kansas City hired Dick Howser as manager for the 1981 season.  Number 10, now retired in honor of Howser, belonged to Clint Hurdle at that time.  Howser wore 21 in 1981, then moved to 10 when Hurdle was traded after the season.


Keith Creel

The 21 jersey passed from Keith Creel (1982-83, at right) to a short stint with Bucky Dent (1984).  Outfielder Lonnie Smith (left) wore 21 as he helped the Royals win the ’85 series.  Smith departed after the 1987 season.  








Royals Hall of Famer Jeff Montgomery

The next February, KC traded for a 25-year old relief pitcher who had worn ’40’ in his lone Major League season.  That number belonged to Bud Black at the time, so the righty assumed Smith’s old number, which Jeff Montgomery would keep for 12 seasons as he recorded a team-record 304 saves.

The new century would see coach Tom Gamboa (2001-03) don 21 along with pitchers D.J. Carrasco (2004-05) and Mark Redman (2006).








In 2007, a 21-year old wore 21.  His name?  Billy Butler.  The professional hitter switched to 16 once it became available, paving the way for Miguel Olivo (2008-09) and now, Frenchy!

In summary, 21 has been worn by a Hall of Famer (Lemon), two Royals Hall of Famers (Howser and Montgomery), two Royals All-Stars (Montgomery and Redman) and two current Royals (Francoeur and Butler).

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