Originally posted on Hall of Very Good  |  Last updated 7/10/12

JEFF MONTGOMERY on KEVIN APPIER
One of the first players I remember meeting after being traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Kansas City Royals was a young pitcher from Lancaster, California, named Kevin Appier. 
It was in the spring of 1988 and I didn’t know much about the Royals organization as I grew up watching and idolizing the players on “The Big Red Machine” and later having the good fortune of being drafted by the Reds.
I didn’t remember “Ape” because of the number on the back of his Topps card, it was because he was a 20 year-old who had just been drafted in the first round by the Royals out of AntelopeValley (California) Junior College.  In fact, he had yet to complete his first full season in professional baseball and we were standing behind the protective screen behind second base on a minor league field collecting batting practice balls as they were throwing in to the “bucket”.
It was during my first conversation that day with Kevin Appier that I realized he was a little different that most baseball players.  Not in a bad way, but in a way that left me with the understanding that whatever accomplishments Appier would have, would be earned in a very different way.  To hear him discuss the physics involved in making a baseball do unusual things was very new to me.  He also went on to tell me later that he would love to build a hovercraft.
Those who had the chance to play on the same team with “Ape” also learned that he was a little “out there”.  They also learned that he was as fierce of a competitor as you will ever meet and that his analytical and scientific approach went deeper than just his pitching.  It was the way he lived his life and told a lot about his character.
During the decade of the 90’s, Appier established himself as one of the best starting pitchers in baseball and was able to become one of the all-time Royal greats.  He is ranked in the club’s top ten in most every career pitching category, including tops in strikeouts with 1458.
From 1990-1999, Appier had 113 wins against 85 losses with a 3.39 ERA.  In his 264 starts during the 90’s, Appier had 32 complete games (10 shutouts) and of those starts, 166 were quality starts (63%).
It was Appier’s live fastball, nasty slider, and diving forkball that helped Appier compile the numbers cited above, but it was his unorthodox delivery and moxy that set him apart from other starting pitchers. 
In the 90’s, it was common to hear hitters from other teams say that Appier was the most difficult pitcher in the American League to hit against.
In addition to Appier’s contribution to the Royals during the 90’s, which included an All-Star team selection in 1995, he also played for the Oakland A’s, New York Mets and Anaheim Angels.  His first year with the Angels yielded 14 wins and a 3.92 ERA which helped land the Angels not only a berth in the post-season, but a World Series ring.
I had the honor of inducting Kevin Appier into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame last summer at a pre-game ceremony at Kauffman Stadium.  It was great to see “Ape” back at the “K” to be honored by the organization which he provided so many thrilling moments for its fans during the prime of his career.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Montgomery is a three-time All-Star who played 13 years for the Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Reds.  During his career, he collected 304 saves (good for 20th all-time)…36 of them were in games Kevin Appier started.


This article first appeared on Hall of Very Good and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Scottie Pippen: LeBron still hasn’t surpassed Jordan, Kobe

Report: Sherman holds resentment toward Wilson, Carroll

Osweiler: Film from last two years proves I should be starter

Daughter of Bucks owner burns Bill Simmons on Twitter

Tiger Woods tells golf world to try and kick this football he’s holding

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tyronn Lue: Gameplanning to defend Celtics harder than Warriors

How the Senators can upset the Penguins in Game 7

Report: Paxton Lynch cutting out early while other QBs stay late

Michael Jordan unique 1984 Converse shoes could fetch up to $100K at auction

Joe Girardi has interesting reason why no medical scans for Masahiro Tanaka

Ezekiel Elliott’s mom fires back after son criticized for being in car accident

Box Score 5/25: The Cavaliers look to close out the Celtics

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

Box Score 5/24: Craig Anderson saves the Senators

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker