GORDO'S STELLAR SEASON STILL HOLDS
Alex Gordon just might be the last great Wichita Wrangler. Just 22 years old, Gordon played his first professional baseball season in Wichita, Kansas after being selected second-overall by Kansas City in the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft out of his hometown University of Nebraska.
From the moment the Lincoln-native signed with the Royals, it was clearly etched that most of his foreseeable future would take place all within a half-day's drive in America's Heartland. Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita sits about 3½ hours south of Lincoln down Route 81. From there, Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City is just 200 miles away. For most Wranglers a home-white Royals uniform with their name on it could have been 200 million miles away, but for Gordon it took 130 games and the necessary 200 miles to get to The Big K.
Gordon hit .372 with 19 homeruns and 66 RBI in 72 games during his final season at Nebraska when the Huskers went 19-8 and won the Big 12. The signing enabled most media outlets to immediately laud the hometown kid as the next George Brett. That Brett played third base was hard to ignore, that Brett carried 98.2% percent of the vote into the Baseball hall of Fame apparently was easy to look past. Throughout his time as a Wrangler though, Gordon did nothing to dispel the imposing comparisons.
In total the eventual Texas League Player of the Year batted .325 with 29 homeruns and 101 RBI. Batting third and playing third base on most nights in Manager Frank White's lineup, the blue-chipper placed third in Texas League batting average, home runs, RBI, and on-base percentage (.427). He led the League in slugging percentage (.588), runs scored (111), walks (72), and total bases, while finishing second in extra base-hits.
Gordon would be the Royals Opening Day Third Basemen the following season where his success mostly held up in his rookie campaign belting 15 homeruns and collecting 60 RBI along the way. With his production dipping by 2010, Gordon was able to right himself at the plate with an accompanying move to Left Field. Since 2011 Gordon has won two gold gloves and was an American League All-Star in 2013.
Only appearing as a Natural during a rehab assignment in 2009, Gordon hit .367 with 2 homeruns and 10 RBI in the 8-game stint.
The Seventh Season of Naturals Baseball begins Thursday, April 3, 2014 in Frisco, TX. The team opens at Arvest Ballpark on Thursday April 10, 2014 against the same Frisco Rough Riders.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, AR. For more information including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.