George Brett, a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player and manager that won three World Series titles with the Kansas City Royals from 1985 to 1988, shared his thoughts on Zack Greinke. He talked about what it was like playing alongside Greinke during their time in Cincinnati and how he always loved watching him pitch for the Dodgers.:
George Brett is a baseball legend and one of the most beloved players in Major League Baseball history. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, and he has been inducted into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame. George Brett recently opened up about his bond with veteran pitcher Zack Greinke.
The news of veteran pitcher Zack Greinke’s planned return to the Kansas City Royals was most likely spread through social media.
When Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett and the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner met paths on the golf course in Scottsdale, Arizona, he learned that such a possibility existed.
Despite the fact that Brett’s last game with the Royals was more than a decade before Greinke’s MLB debut in 2004, the two Kansas City sports giants have had a tight friendship for over 20 years, which the renowned third baseman is still glad to discuss.
When Zack Greinke made his debut in 2004, George Brett sought to take him under his wing.
Zack Greinke (L) and George Brett, both of the Kansas City Royals, spent a lot of time together when they were little | LG Patterson/MLB Photos via Getty Images; Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Brett first met Greinke in 2004, almost two decades before they reunited on the golf course during a lockout. The Royals, coming off an abysmal 83-79 season, promoted their best pitching prospect to the majors in May.
Brett said in a recent interview with Alec Lewis of The Athletic that he gave a space in his basement to young athletes who needed a place to stay. Despite the fact that the practice started during his playing career, Greinke continued it with him.
Brett noted, “(The big-league move) is simpler if you’re with someone who understands the place.” “Why don’t you come over for the first month or whatever?” I reasoned.
Greinke accepted the 13-time All-offer Star’s and stayed with him for the remainder of the season. Greinke’s washing was done by his wife, Leslie, according to Brett, and the rookie pitcher even drove 30 minutes after Sunday afternoon games to watch the couple’s three boys play Little League.
Greinke definitely profited from his time with Brett, going 8-11 with a 3.97 ERA in 24 starts as a rookie. In fact, the eventual Cy Young Award winner came in fourth place in the American League Rookie of the Year vote.
Greinke has easily joined Brett as one of the finest players in Royals history over 20 years later.
Greinke finished 60-67 with a 3.82 ERA in 210 games and 169 starts with the Royals from 2004 to 2010. Calling him a Royals legend would be a stretch, given that it took him until his sixth season to realize his full potential.
Greinke, on the other hand, started the 2022 season with a 26.3 WAR (Baseball-version), Reference’s which ranked 11th in team history. Brett (88.6) and Bret Saberhagen (40.7) were among the players with better WAR during the team’s peak in the 1970s and 1980s.
Greinke finished 39-32 with a 3.25 ERA in 98 starts from 2008 to 2010, striking out 606 batters while walking just 162 in 651.2 innings for a squad that went a combined 207-279. One can only think how he would have fared if the Royals’ lineup at the time had a batter as deadly as Brett.
“Legend” doesn’t seem that outlandish anymore.
Things have changed dramatically in the previous 18 years. Greinke, a 38-year-old journeyman with 219 wins, 2,810 strikeouts, and six All-Star selections, returned to Kansas City this summer. His days of striking out over 200 batters in a season are certainly past, since he just had one strikeout in 5.2 innings against the Cleveland Guardians on Opening Day.
When he’s not residing in a Hall of Famer’s basement, Greinke is no longer a 20-year-old seeking to prove himself. He’s a seasoned presence with a wife and three youngsters who can eat innings. Greinke has positioned himself to have a strong case for a plaque in Cooperstown, New York, when he retires, even if he doesn’t achieve 300 wins or 3,000 strikeouts.
What about Greinke’s plans for the rest of the season? George’s son and Zack’s old roommate, Jackson Brett, a local real estate agent, was more than pleased to assist him and his family in finding a home.
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