A star who played baseball with passion, Kansas City Royals slugger George Brett (1953-) was born in Wheeling, West Virginia and raised in California. Growing up, he dreamed of playing football like his idol quarterback Joe Namath. He discovered baseball in high school.
"It all started in 1971, my high school coach John Stevenson... taught me how to be a winning ballplayer," Brett recalled. That same year he signed with the Royals. Nicknamed "The Franchise," Brett spent his entire 21-year career there.
"If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out," said the fiercely competitive third baseman.
Brett's career totals included a .305 batting average, 317 home runs, 1595 RBIs, 3154 hits, and 11 seasons hitting better than .300. "I'd like to be remembered as the guy who always played hard and ran out every ball," said Brett, the only player to win batting titles in three decades (1976, 1980, 1990).
A clutch hitter and a Golden Glove winner, he was a role model for others. Teammate Kevin Seitzer explained Brett's "hustle and desire" were an inspiration that "set the example for me to model my career."
"That's what made him such a great player -- that emotion, that passion," agreed John Wathan, a former teammate and manager.
Upon his 1999 induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Brett said, "I have so much to be thankful for, and the people of Kansas City have made it possible for me."
More BASEBALL Quotations
Put your heart into it.