“Don’t try to be a hero. Try to be a winner.”
Hall of Famer George Brett
George Brett is the only player in Major League Baseball history to win batting titles in three different decades. Brett spent his entire 21 year Major League career with the Kansas City Royals. Brett played in 13 consecutive All-Star games and won a Gold Glove for fielding excellence in 1985. George Brett was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1980 when he batted .390 and led the Kansas City Royals to the American League Pennant. Brett and the Royals won the World Series in 1985. George Brett finished his career with 3,154 hits. George Brett was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.
Statistics do not measure the kind of player George Brett was. Brett had many statistical accomplishments…he is one of four players to finish his career with over 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and a lifetime batting average over .300.
Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial are the other three men to accomplish that feat. George Brett wasn’t about numbers, he was about passion, pride and fire. He was ultra-competitive. You cannot measure statistically what that means to a ballclub.
I was privileged to see George Brett play for the Omaha Royals in the first game I ever broadcast in Indianapolis. Kansas City Royals hitting coach Charlie Lau helped Brett when George was a young player and Brett’s career “took off”.
On September 19, 1980, George Brett was batting over .400. He finished the season at .390 saying the last two weeks, “I was trying to hit .400” – meaning he put too much extra pressure on himself. George Brett was right. When you try to be a hero, you try to do too much. When you try to be a winner, you stay within yourself. George Brett was a winner who took it to another level in the clutch. He is one of the greatest third baseman of all-time.
George Brett and the Kansas City Royals won the World Series in 1985.