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Longtime Royal Eric Hosmer Retires

Today marks the end of a storied career for one of the greatest Royals ever. Former first baseman Eric Hosmer is retiring after 13 seasons in the MLB. A great career such as his deserves a deep dive, and that is what I intend to do with this article today...

Hosmer got his start in the Royals farm system before making his big-league debut in 2011. In his first full year in the majors, Hosmer accumulated 153 hits off 523 at-bats (.293 AVG) and had 78 RBIs. He also hit 19 home runs and received AL Rookie of the Year votes. He quickly became one of the Royals' foremost players both on and off the field, becoming one of the faces of the franchise beside Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Lorenzo Cain, Yordano Ventura, and the HDH pitching trio. In 2014, the fruits of this group's labors would begin to pay off, as the Royals would reach the MLB playoffs for the first time since 1985. Not only that, but the Royals would run through every opponent, sweeping each one until the World Series off the backs of efficient and consistent hitting from Hosmer and others, as well as a stellar pitching rotation. Though they would end up losing that World Series against the Giants in a heartbreaking Game 7, this gave the Kansas City faithful hope for next year. Hosmer would win his second Gold Glove, winning his first a year prior, but you could tell he and the other Royals weren't satisfied with 2nd place.

Next year brought on new challenges, but with an even tighter group than before plus key free agency additions such as Ben Zobrist and Kendrys Morales, it was nothing that the Royals couldn't handle. The Royals would end up winning the AL Central with a fantastic 95-67 record, their best record since 1989. Then came the challenges of the postseason though, and with stiff competition such as the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros on the horizon, this team had to lock in and play their best ball. Their best ball was played, following a formula similar to last year's of just being consistent with getting on base, taking opportunities as they come, and depending on a star-studded pitching corps. With a plethora of All-Stars (including Hosmer) as well as motivation to play harder given last year's result, the pickings were right for a historic postseason run. The Royals would once again find themselves in the World Series, being battle-tested in every round of the playoffs, going up against the New York Mets, who themselves were hungry for their first World Series win in 3 decades as well. The Royals ended up wanting it more though, and you could see it in their play. Particularly in the plays of Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez, and Eric Hosmer. Hosmer would be the decider of the series after making what seemed like a critical baserunning error. Luck on his side though, the Mets misplayed the ball and Hosmer would race toward home, getting there safely after an error throw from first, tying the ball game in the top of the 9th. The Royals would go on to stomp the Mets in extra innings, earning their 2nd ever World Series crown. Hosmer would get votes for league MVP and would earn his second-to-last Gold Glove, Hosmer would accumulate 178 hits off of 599 at-bats (.297 AVG), notch 93 RBIs, and hit 18 home runs in his 2015 campaign.

After this historic 2015 season, the Royals would not see the postseason again in Eric Hosmer's time with the team. He would be an All-Star in 2016 after hitting .266 AVG off 601 at-bats, knocking in 104 RBIs, and hitting 25 home runs, but the team would falter and not make the postseason, posting a dead-even 81-81 record. 2017 did not prove to be much better, as the Royals would go 80-82, but Hosmer would win his final Gold Glove award, win his first Silver Slugger, and once again earn MVP votes. Hosmer batted a career-best .318 AVG off of 671 at-bats, knocked in 94 RBIs, and hit 25 home runs. After this, however, Hosmer's contract with the Royals was up, with little to no possibility of extension. He would sign with the San Diego Padres for 2018-2021, but just wasn't the same player for them as he was for the Royals. He would never win another Gold Glove, never be selected for the All-Star game, and his time on the field would dwindle heavily. After a few one-year deals with the Red Sox and Cubs, Hosmer officially hung up his cleats on February 21st of 2024, mere weeks before the 2024 season begins.

Hosmer was one of the last remnants of that historic 2015 Royals squad. Mike Moustakas has hardly any playing time with the Angels, Lorenzo Cain retired last year, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland are all out of the league too (Herrera being elected mayor of his hometown in the Dominican Republic!), and Yordano Ventura tragically passed away after a car wreck in 2017. No one can take away the memories from that year though, that was Kansas City's first taste of championship glory since the 1980s, and set a precedent of things to come not even a decade later with the Chiefs. It showed that Kansas City is a diehard sports town that cares deeply for their team, their players, and their culture. It would not have been possible without Eric Hosmer, who remains a fan favorite in Kansas City to this very day. We will see his number retired very soon, I would hope, he deserves it for his on and off-the-field contributions to this city. He made people excited about Royals baseball again, and I along with many others can only hope we can reach that level of excitement once again with the advent of Bobby Witt, Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, and others. I tip my hat to you, Hoz, here's to a career well played.

Burn Notice: 10/10 I wish I had his hair, his looks, and his athleticism. I wish I was Eric Hosmer, to be honest...

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