Mayberry was a slugging first baseman who topped 20 HR eight times (30 twice) and
100 RBI three times, and led the AL in walks in 1973 (122) and 1975 (119). He hit
three homers in a game twice (7/1/1975 vs. Rangers, 6/1/1977 vs. Blue Jays) and hit
for the cycle on August 5, 1977. TSN named him AL all-star first baseman in 1973 and 1975.
Mayberry showed power in four trials with
the Astros but never hit higher than .216 for them and was traded to the Royals for
1972. Kansas City made him its regular first baseman, and he responded by hitting
a career-high .298 with 25 HR, 100 RBI (second in the AL), and a league-leading 122
walks. A pulled hamstring in July and a broken wrist in August accounted for his
mediocre 1974 performance (.234, 22 HR, 69 RBI). His best season came in 1975, when
he hit .291 and reached career highs with 34 HR (third in the AL) and 106 RBI (second).
He was considered one of the AL's most feared sluggers, and other teams began shifting
their defenses to the right to counter his powerful pull hitting. He slumped to .232
with 13 HR in 1976, but did drive in 95 runs as the Royals won their first division
title. He homered in the last game of the LCS as the Royals lost to the Yankees.
hit .230 in 1977, although he did have 23 HR. He also made himself unpopular in Kansas
City by sitting out the last game of the LCS with a toothache as the Royals lost
to New York again (he homered in Game One). Kansas City then sold the man who stood
as the club's career leader in HR and RBI to the year-old Blue Jays. He led Toronto
in RBI and HR each of his four seasons there, rebounding to 30 in 1980 and setting
since-broken HR and RBI career marks for the young franchise, but he never totally
regained his former productivity. Three times he had the Blue Jays' only hit in a
game. Traded to the Yankees in May 1982 for two prospects, he slumped abysmally,
batting only .209 for his new team, and his career ended.
Mayberry is the Royals'
season record holder in walks (122) and double plays by a first baseman (156) and
still ranks in their top ten in most career offensive categories. Although the 6'3"
220-lb Mayberry was a very slow runner, he was quite agile around the bag and led
AL first basemen three times in putouts, twice in fielding, and twice in double plays.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»June 7, 1967:
The last-place Yankees have the first pick in the free-agent draft and use it to take Ron Blomberg. With the next pick, the Cubs tap SS Terry Hughes, who will have just 86 ML at bats. All 20 first-round picks are high school players, and only 11 will eventually reach the major leagues, including John Mayberry (#6, Astros), Jon Matlack (Mets), Wayne Simpson (#8, Reds), Ted Simmons (#10, Cards), and Bobby Grich (#20, Orioles). The O's take Don Baylor with their 2nd pick, then in the secondary phase, select P Mike Adamson. Adamson will leap directly to the O's, debuting July 1, the first player in draft history to bypass the minors. Other selections today include Dusty Baker (26th round, Braves), Matlack (1st round, Mets), Steve Yeager (3rd round, Dodgers) and Richie Zisk (3rd round, Pirates), The Phils strike out as none of their picks will reach the majors.
»June 27, 1972:
Continuing his slugging, John Mayberry belts a home run, double and two singles to lead the Royals to a 6–4 win over the White Sox. Mayberry has driven in 20 runs in his last 11 games.
»July 31, 1972:
Royals OF Amos Otis scores the game's only run, swiping home in the 4th inning with a surprised John Mayberry at bat. Otis reached 3B when Angels pitcher Nolan Ryan makes two of his three errors trying to pick his former teammate off base. As Bob Davids notes, this is the only the 2nd time in the post-war years that a steal of home accounts for a games' only run.
»September 20, 1972:
At Anaheim, Royals pitcher Steve Busby loses a grand slam when 1B ump John Rice signals that he had called time before the gopher pitch. John Mayberry had already hit a grand slam in the inning.
»August 3, 1977:
Dennis Leonard pitches the Royals to a 12–2 win over the White Sox. John Mayberry leads the offense by hitting for the cycle.
»October 5, 1977:
In the opener of the American League Series, home runs by Hal McRae, John Mayberry, and Al Cowens lead the Royals to a 7–2 triumph over the Yankees.
»April 4, 1978: The Royals send slugger John Mayberry to the Blue Jays for an eventual cash settlement.
»June 26, 1978: Toronto's Dave McKay and Otto Velez each hit two doubles in one inning during a 24–10 rout of Baltimore. With the score 19–6 following a homer by Lee May, Earl Weaver tosses OF Larry Harlow to the Blue Jay. Harlow gets two batters out in the 5th, then walks three in a row and hurls a wild pitch. He then allows a single, a walk, and a grand slam by John Mayberry makes the score 24–6. Bullpen catcher Ellie Hendricks then relieves Harlow and gives up just a walk and no runs in 2-1/3 innings. Closer Don Stanhouse takes over in the 8th.
»April 9, 1980:
Seattle's Ted Cox has the American League's first game-winning ribbie when he hits a 2-run double off Toronto's Dave Lemanczyk in the 3rd inning as the M's take a 4–2. The Mariners win 8–6, the victory going to Mike Parrott who pitches six 1/3 innings. Parrott will finish the year with a 1–16 record, making today's win his lone ML triumph for the season. For the second season in a row, Toronto's John Mayberry opens with four hits, including two home runs. The Blue Jays dropped their opener last year as well.
»June 6, 1980: Minnesota's Geoff Zahn one-hits the Blue Jays 5–0, allowing only a John Mayberry single with two out in the 7th.