The List: Ranking the Royals

Andy Downing
Kansas City Royals (1985)

With Royal Blood set to visit Newport Music Hall this week (read Joel Oliphint's interview with the rock duo in this week's issue) we thought we'd rank our favorite royalty. Here's how they landed.

13. King George VI

Perhaps best known these days as the stuttering inspiration for “The King's Speech,” which collected a Best Picture win at the Oscars in 2010.

12. Bo Jackson

Jackson would've landed higher on this list if it weren't for hip injuries sustained playing football cutting his baseball career with the Kansas City Royals short. Bo knows how to snap a baseball bat over his knee.

11. Dan Quisenberry

The longtime relief pitcher had an impressive mustache and a submarine-style delivery that often left hitters bewildered. He retired in 1990 with 244 saves.

10. Willie Wilson

The Alabama-born outfielder relied heavily on footspeed, stealing 668 bases in his career, or two more than Slayer fans would have hoped.

9. King Alfred

These days, the name Alfred doesn't sound quite so formidable. Not so in the late 800s, when the King of Wessex defeated the Vikings. (Yes, actual Vikings.)

8. Frank White

White is one of the only people on this list straddling the worlds of sports and governance, having been elected to the Jackson County Legislature in 2014 after a long career at second base.

7. Bret Saberhagen

The right-handed starting pitcher was drafted in the 19th round and lasted 16 seasons in the majors, retiring with a 3.34 ERA and leading the Royals to a World Series win in 1985, earning series MVP.

6. Richard I

Richard the Lionheart was famous for his commitment to the crusades, but his wandering attentions left England largely in control of his whiny, thumb-sucking, cartoon-lion brother John, if the 1973 Disney documentary “Robin Hood” is to be believed.

5. King Edward I

The “Hammer of the Scots” waged wars of conquest against Wales and Scotland, uniting the Kingdom (only to see his work come undone at the ballot box with Brexit).

4. Amos Otis

The outfielder played with the Royals from 1970-1983, winning three Gold Gloves and appearing in the all-star game in each of his first four seasons with the team.

3. Queen Elizabeth I

Queen EI inherited the throne in 1558 at age 25, inheriting a bankrupt, divided nation, leaving behind a united nation and an imposing legacy by the time she died in 1603.

2. King Arthur

This 5th/6th-century leader pulled sword from stone, headed up the famed Knights of the Round Table and led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders, which was nearly enough to land the top spot on our list were it not for…

1. George Brett

Mr. Royal played 21 seasons at third base and designated hitter, retiring with 3,154 hits—the most all-time by a third baseman—and a career .305 batting average. Considering the damage he did with a piece of wood in his hands, imagine how he would have fared wielding King Arthur's steel.