Chatting with Former Kansas City Royals Outfielder Pat Sheridan
After years of futility, the Kansas City Royals have been one of the best teams in baseball over the past couple of seasons. It has been their first extended stretch as contenders since the 1980s, when they fielded some of the most exciting teams of the era. An important cog to some of those squads was outfielder Pat Sheridan, who still remembers his tenure with the team fondly.
Sheridan grew up in Michigan and ultimately attended Eastern Michigan University where he had a standout career. That success caused his stock to rise significantly and he was selected by the Royals in the third round of the 1979 draft. His ability to hit, run and play defense allowed him to move through their system quickly, and he made his major league debut in 1981 at the age of 23—appearing in a total of three games and striking out in his lone at-bat, which came against Albert Williams and the Minnesota Twins.
After spending 1982 dealing with injuries and in the minors, Sheridan became a regular with the Royals in 1983. Over the next several seasons the left-handed hitter often platooned with the likes of Darryl Motley, who was a right-handed hitter.
In 1983 Sheridan appeared in 109 games, hitting .270 with seven home runs, 36 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. He hit .283 with eight homers and 19 steals the following year, as his team made the playoffs.
However, 1985 was the magical year for the Royals. They won 91 games and beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series in seven exciting games.
The following year he was released at the end of spring training but hooked on with the Detroit Tigers. He went on to play in the majors for five more years, including stints with the San Francisco Giants (playing with them in the 1989 World Series) and New York Yankees. In 876 career games he accumulated a .253 batting average with 51 home runs, 257 RBIs and 86 stolen bases.
Although he hit just .174 in six playoff series, he also cranked three home runs in the postseason, including a pivotal solo homer in Game 7 of the 1985 ALCS against Dave Stieb and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Retired from baseball for almost 25 years, I recently had the pleasure of asking Sheridan some questions about his career. Keep reading for more about this Royals great!
Pat Sheridan Interview:
Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: My favorite player growing up was Dick Tracewski with the Tigers because my dad played minor league ball with him and he used to leave us tickets to the ball games.
Can you describe your draft experience with the Royals in 1979?: I got drafted in the third round of the June draft by the Royals and it was bitter sweet, I guess, because I really enjoyed college baseball at Eastern Michigan. Leaving before my senior year was a little sad, but I wanted to get on my way with pro ball, so I signed.
Your first major league hit was a home run off Milt Wilcox and the Detroit Tigers in 1983. What was that moment like?: My first big league hit was so fun hitting a home run off Milt Wilcox. Later I saw him at the horse track in Michigan because we both owned horses, and I introduced myself to him and told him I hit a home run off him for my first hit in the majors. He responded, “I do that for a lot of guys.” Haha
In your opinion, who was the most talented player you ever played with or against?: George Brett, of course!
What is your favorite moment from your baseball career?: Winning the World Series in ’85; setting a goal as a team and making that come true. It binds us players together for life.
You played in the 1985 and 1989 World Series. What were those experiences like?: Playing in the World Series is what we all as players dream about. It was so exciting and the buzz around both of the cities was electric. The ‘89 series was not as fun because of the earthquake, and we also got swept by the A’s.
Please talk a little about what it was like to play for manager Sparky Anderson?: Sparky Anderson was a players’ manager and a great person. The city of Detroit loved him for his baseball but also for his involvement with the city.
What are you up to since retiring as a player?: I’m selling property Insurance here in Michigan for the last 24 years.