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KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Kansas City Royals made seven-time All-Star Salvador Perez the fourth captain in franchise history before Thursday’s home opener against the Minnesota Twins, rewarding one of the club’s most famous players with the rare title.
Unlike football or basketball, the title of captain is awarded to players who have achieved a tremendous amount or demonstrated exemplary leadership over a long period of time.
Perez fits into both categories.
Besides his semi-annual trips to the All-Star Game, the cute catcher has won four Silver Slugger Awards and five Gold Glove Awards and was MVP of the 2015 World Series, when the Royals beat the Mets for their second championship.
He is also among the most popular players for the Royals. Pérez’s sociable nature puts young players at ease immediately, which is good for a club in the midst of a major youth movement, and he’s always ready to sign autographs and take pictures for fans who show up long before the first pitch.
“Salvie is a Royals icon, a Kansas City icon, and a baseball icon,” said JG Piccolo, general manager of the Royals. “Not only does this honor reflect his place in the history of the Royal Family, but it is equally important for the work he does and the leadership he provides to our organization.”
Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett and longtime star Frank White were the first basemen for the Royals. They both held the title from 1989-90, when White retired, and Brett held it until his retirement after the 1993 season.
Mike Sweeney was the last Royals captain, holding the honor from 2003 until his departure for Oakland for the 2008 season.
The Yankees’ Aaron Judge was the only other MLB player to be named captain that season.
Pérez, 32, was batting third and behind the plate to lead the Royals’ opener against the Twins. 254 with 23 homers and 76 RBI while playing only 114 games.
Perez was the club’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2001, and last year, he won the Lou Gehrig Award, which is given annually to the one Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the personality of the late Yankees star.
Game notes: Royals: OF Drew Waters (oblique strain) and LHP Daniel Lynch (rotator cuff strain) went to IL before the game against Minnesota. OFs contracts selected Jackie Bradley Jr. and Franmil Reyes and INF Matt Duffy from Triple-A Omaha. … LHP Richard Lovelady was traded to Atlanta and 1B Matt Beaty to San Francisco, both for cash considerations.
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