Originally signed by the Red Sox, Otis was drafted by the Mets and went to the Royals
with pitcher Bob Johnson in a lopsided
December 1969 trade for third baseman Joe
Foy. Foy was gone from the majors within 2 years, while Otis starred in centerfield
with Kansas City for 14. During his tenure, one of the most popular chants in Royals
Stadium was "A-O, A-O." The dapper Otis was criticized at times for a casual demeanor,
lack of aggressiveness, and one-handed catches, but he won three Gold Gloves and
three times was named Royals Player of the Year. He tied for the American League
lead in doubles his first full year, 1970, and led in 1976. In 1971, the speedster
stole five bases in a September 7 game and captured the league stolen-base title
(52). In 1975 he tied an AL record by stealing seven bases in two consecutive games,
April 30 and May 1. He batted .300 twice and hit for power, with a career-high 26
HR in 1973. He starred on four Kansas City division champions. When the Royals won
their one AL title, he led all players in the 1980 World Series with 11 hits. He
left the Royals in 1983 as their all-time leader in several offensive categories,
including runs, hits, and RBI.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»December 3, 1969: In what is rated their best trade ever, the Royals send 3B Joe Foy to the Mets for OF Amos Otis and P Bob Johnson. Foy will not solve the Mets' 3B problems, while Otis will spend 14 years in Kansas City, win three gold gloves, and lead the American League in stolen bases once.
»September 7, 1971: Kansas City's Amos Otis collects four hits and five SBs in a 4–3 win over Milwaukee. Darrell Porter's wild throw on a steal allows Otis to score the winning run.
»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.
»April 18, 1978: The Royals win their 8th straight, beating the Blue Jays 5–0 behind Paul Splittorff's 5-hitter. Willie Wilson and Hal McRae open the game with singles, and pull off a double steal. Following a 2-out intentional walk, Amos Otis hits a grand slam to jump start the Royals scoring.
»May 27, 1981:
With Kansas City ahead 7–4 over the Mariners, Amos Otis taps a dribbler down the 3B line in the 6th inning. Mariner 3B Lenny Randle gets down on all fours as the ball rolls along the line, finally going foul. Royals manager Whitey Herzog protests that Randle was blowing the ball foul, while the third baseman argues he was merely pleading with it. Ump Larry McCoy rules in favor of Herzog and Otis gets a hit. Otis doesn't score but the Royals win, 8–5.
»August 23, 1983: Kansas City's Amos Otis notches his 2,000th career hit, a single in a 10–2 win over the White Sox.
»December 19, 1983:
The Pirates sign free-agent OF Amos Otis, a 5-time AL All-Star, to a one-year contract.