Not every moment on the list of 50 worst moments for the Royals is going to be a tectonic shift. Just like not every grain of sand makes a beach, or every drop of alcohol makes you suddenly drop your pants and run out into the Westport night screaming “Dolly Parton was a kind and gentle lover!!!” (Allegedly.)
No, being a Royals fans wasn’t all about major disappointments or gigantic losses. Sometimes it was just another fail in a line of fail. Today’s moment is such an example.
Mark Quinn was drafted in 1995 out of Rice and quickly developed into a power hitting outfielder with decent range and the propensity to hit homers in homer unfriendly Kauffman Stadium. He won a batting title in the minor leagues in 1998 and was a September call up in 1999. In his first game, he homered twice – one of only three MLB players to do so at that time, and the Mark Quinn era had begun. Fans were dazzled by Quinn’s 2000 rookie season as he had a slash line of .294/.342/.488 hitting 20 homers with 78 RBI. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting all on a team that would lose 85 games.
There was nothing but optimism of seeing an outfield of Quinn, Damon, Dye, and Dee Brown. (Oh, and also Trent Hubbard, let’s not forget his 12 AB here.) But Quinn’s time in the Major Leagues would be short lived thanks, in part, to an injury between the 2001 and 2002 seasons where he was kung-fu fighting his brother. Quinn would only appear in 23 games in 2002. Those would be his last in a professional uniform. He left fans wondering, perhaps like Bo Jackson before him, what would a healthy Mark Quinn would have meant to a team who would eventually lose Damon and Dye. (And Hubbard.)
Our 47th nominee for the Worst Moments in Royals History is dedicated to Mark Quinn who taught us to celebrate the short-lived. He taught us to relish every moment with the exception of relish in the hot dog race because fuck relish. Mark Quinn taught us that every hit, every homer, every at bat is to be celebrated. Even every walk.
During a 2-1 come from behind victory in Kansas City on August 30, 2001, the lineup card was choc full of stars. David Eckstein led off for the Anaheim Angels. There was Darin Erstad, Bengie Molina, and Carlos Beltran patrolling center for the Royals and batting sixth, in right field, was Mark Quinn. The victory would cap off a sweep of the Angels thanks to Quinn legging out a fielders choice double-play ball on a play that, get this, C.B. Bucknor probably got wrong. (Try not to faint.)
His stat line for the night included three at bats. Officially he was 0-3 with a strikeout and a walk. But it is the walk that we have assembled here to talk about. That walk, my friends, was spectacular.
The thing about Mark Quinn was… he never walked. He would draw only 12 walks in 2001 and 56 in his entire four year career (among 1166 plate appearances.) So getting to see a Mark Quinn walk was a little bit like seeing a unicorn blowing a leprechaun behind a taco truck. So why not celebrate a little?
We’ll let the Fort Scott Tribune pick it up from there.
Perhaps the most unusual event came in the fifth inning when Kansas City’s Mark Quinn looked at a 3-2 pitch from Jarrod Washburn that was about 2 feet outside.
As he trotted to first with the first unintentional walk in 242 consecutive plate appearances, the crowd cheered, stadium fireworks went off and even the scoreboard flashed, “WALK!! WALK!!”
Even Quinn had to grin.
“I looked over at the pitcher and he was laughing, too,” the free-swinging outfielder said. “I’m just glad to get that monkey off my back so people can find something else to blow up and make a big deal out of.”
Our point here on Easter Sunday/April Fool’s Day is that you need to take time out to celebrate the little moments in your life. Those little moments that make you who you are – a Royals fan. A fan of the Royals who would blow off fireworks after a Mark Quinn walk.
Next up.. #46. You’re guaranteed to fall ass over teakettle for it.