The week of Thanksgiving brings a time for all of us to be thankful for family, friends, health, any a myriad of other things that each of us finds important. Here at I-70 Baseball, we take this time to show some thanks to some players that spent some time wearing both of the uniforms of our two teams, the Cardinals and Royals.
The requirements are that simple: the inducted player had to play for both the Cardinals and Royals in his career. From there, it is pure judgement of I-70 Baseball to say they deserve enshrinement in our “Hall Of Legends”. This year we induct five new legends to join the inaugural group of five from last season. The original five inductees were manager Whitey Herzog, pitchers Dan Quisenberry and Danny Jackson, outfielder Reggie Sanders, and catcher Darrell Porter.
The next inductee is infielder Gregg Jefferies.
Jefferies emerged onto the Major League scene in 1987 as a part of the New York Mets organization. A highly touted second base/third base prospect, he would find his way permanently onto the team and in the lineup in 1989 when he would finish third in the voting for the Jackie Robinson Award for the most outstanding rookie player in the National League.
In December of 1991, Jefferies would find himself being traded from New York along with Kevin McReynolds to the Kansas City Royals organization.
Jefferies would spend the 1992 season in Kansas City posting career highs to that point in batting average (.285), runs batted in (75), and hits (172). Those numbers would generate an off season trade to the opposite side of the state and his arrival in St. Louis. The Royals dealt Jefferies and minor leaguer Ed Gerald to the Cardinals for Felix Jose and Craig Wilson.
Jefferies career year would occur with his arrival to St. Louis and his move to first base. The Cardinals, with a unique mixture of talent, saw the opportunity for the athletic, yet diminutive at just five foot eleven, fielder to convert to the first base position. Jefferies would reach the All Star game for the first time in his career during the 1993 campaign. He would post his best season of his fourteen year career in batting average (.342), home runs (16), runs batted in (83), runs scored (89), on base percentage (.408), walks (62) and stolen bases (46). His stellar performance would earn him and eleventh place finish in the Most Valuable Player voting at the end of the season.
Jefferies’ second and final year with the Cardinals would see him continue to produce well while adjusting to the first base position. While his numbers were down from the career performance he turned in the prior season, he would still produce a season that earned him his second and last All Star appearance. He would post a slash line of .325/.489/.880 while hitting 12 home runs and knocking in 55 runs as well as scoring 52 of his own. His .489 slugging percentage would go down as the best of his career.
Jefferies would take his talents to Philadelphia the following season where he would eventually find himself in left field more than on first base. A short stay in Anaheim and two years in Detroit would round out his 14 year career.
Jefferies career would finish with 1593 hits (487 for the Royals and Cardinals combined), 300 doubles (87 for i70), 126 home runs (38 for i70), 663 runs batted in (213 for i70) and a career .289 batting average (.315 for i70).
Gregg Jefferies enjoyed three of his best years while wearing the colors of the I-70 teams and for that, we welcome him into the Hall Of Legends.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.