Alexander Jonathan Gordon (born February 10, 1984) is an American professional baseball left fielder for the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball (MLB). Prior to playing professionally, Gordon attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he played college baseball for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
|Kansas City Royals – No. 4|
|Born: February 10, 1984|
|April 2, 2007, for the Kansas City Royals|
|MLB statistics |
(through May 19, 2019)
|Runs batted in||696|
|Career highlights and awards|
At Nebraska, Gordon won the Brooks Wallace Award, Dick Howser Trophy, and Golden Spikes Award in 2005. That year, the Royals made Gordon the second overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft. Gordon has won six Gold Glove Awards, four Fielding Bible Awards, and a Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award in MLB. Prior to 2010, Gordon was primarily a third baseman.
Early years and high school careerEdit
Gordon was born into a baseball-loving family in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was a two-time Gatorade Nebraska Player of the Year after hitting .483 with 25 home runs and 112 runs batted in (RBIs) at Lincoln Southeast High School, from which he graduated in 2002. Gordon’s younger brother, Derek played college baseball at Park University before signing a minor league contract with the Royals in 2015. He spent two seasons in their system before being released.
Gordon attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and played third base. In his junior year in 2005, he swept the collegiate baseball awards for college player of the year, winning the Dick Howser Trophy, Golden Spikes Award, the Brooks Wallace Award, and the ABCA Rawlings Player of the Year, he was also an ESPY Award Finalist for the Best Male College Athlete. He earned 1st-team All-America honors for the 2nd straight season hitting .372 (94–253) in 72 games with 22 doubles, 4 triples, 19 home runs and 66 RBI. Gordon was also 23 for 26 in stolen base attempts, and drew 63 walks, compared to 38 strikeouts, helping lead the Huskers to the 2005 Big 12 regular season and tournament titles and the school's 3rd College World Series appearance. He posted a .353 career average, he hit 44 homers and drove in 189 runs, drew 139 walks and struck out just 106 times and was only the 2nd 2-time 1st-team All-American in Nebraska history. He finished the season as the Big 12 leader (conference games) in walks and on-base percentage, while ranking 3rd in home runs, total bases and slugging percentage. Gordon was the highest draft pick out of Nebraska since Darin Erstad was taken 1st overall in the 1995 draft.
Gordon was named the No. 1 college draft prospect by Baseball America as well as the 2nd-best overall prospect, best pure collegiate hitter, the 2nd-best collegiate 5-tool talent, 2nd-best collegiate power hitter, best collegiate strike-zone judgment and 2nd-closest to the Majors among collegiate players.
U.S. National TeamEdit
During his time at the University of Nebraska, Gordon was a member of the 2004 U.S. National Team, which had players from 15 different colleges. He helped lead Team USA to an 18–7 overall record, seeing the majority of his playing time at first base. He hit .388 with four home runs, 12 RBI and 18 runs scored in 24 contests and was named the top offensive player at the World University Baseball Championship in Tainan, Taiwan after leading all players with a .524 average (11-for-21) with two home runs, five RBI, and eight runs scored in eight games.
Draft and MinorsEdit
Gordon was drafted in 2005 by the Kansas City Royals with the second pick overall. He hit 29 home runs and stole 22 bases with an OPS over 1.000 in his first full season in minor league baseball with the Double-A Wichita Wranglers. He was generally regarded as one of the best hitting prospects in baseball playing in the Texas League All-Star game and was selected for the 2006 All-Star Futures Game.
Gordon declined to play for Team USA in 2006, while leading the Wichita Wranglers to the Texas League playoffs. He performed exceptionally well in his first full minor league season, winning the Texas League Player of the Year awarded to the best player and Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year award.
Kansas City RoyalsEdit
In his first major league at-bat, Alex struck out with the bases loaded against Curt Schilling but eventually got his first major league hit on April 5, 2007, against another celebrated rookie, Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka. On April 10, 2007, he hit his first major league home run off pitcher Josh Towers of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Gordon struggled to begin with, but the Royals stayed patient with him. He was hitting .185 with three home runs and 8 RBI through the first two months as an everyday starter of the regular season. However, he was hot in June, batting .327 with three home runs and 14 RBI. He stayed consistent through the summer, hitting .253 in July, and .271 in August. However, he slumped to a .244 average for the final month of the season.
On August 17, Gordon got his 100th major league hit off pitcher Dan Meyer of the Oakland Athletics. On September 2, Gordon had the first multi-home run game of his career, connecting off Boof Bonser of the Minnesota Twins in the second inning, and in the 3rd inning off Julio DePaula. On September 7, Gordon hit a single off former college teammate Joba Chamberlain of the New York Yankees. On September 12, Alex hit his 34th double of the year in the seventh inning off Glen Perkins of the Twins, establishing a Royals rookie record.
Alex switched his uniform number from #7, the number he had as a rookie, to #4, his college number. On Major League Baseball's opening day of 2008, March 31, Gordon hit a two-run home run off Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander, with Mark Grudzielanek on first base.
The Royals placed Gordon on the 15-day disabled list on August 23 because of a torn muscle in his right quadriceps. He was hitting .254 and was second on the team with 14 home runs, but also had club-high 109 strikeouts.
Alex struggled in the beginning of the 2009 season, hitting just 2-for-21 (.095) with one home run and three RBIs in seven games. Gordon was injured on April 11 in a game against the New York Yankees when he slid into second base on a force play. He underwent surgery on April 17 to repair a tear in the labral cartilage of the right hip, and was on the disabled list for twelve weeks. After playing a few games in the minors, Alex came off the disabled list and rejoined the Royals on July 17 going 1 for 4 against Tampa Bay. Alex stole home for the first time in his career on August 2 against the Rays becoming the first Royal to do that since Mendy Lopez in 2003. The Royals optioned Gordon to Triple-A Omaha on August 18 and reinstated reliever Kyle Farnsworth from the 15-day DL to take his spot on the active roster. After Omaha finished up its season, Gordon returned to the Royals in September.
Alex began the 2010 season on a minor league rehab assignment with Class-A Advanced Wilmington, following a broken thumb suffered in Spring Training. Gordon was activated from the disabled list on April 17. He was demoted to the minor leagues in May, where he played left field. Alex was recalled from Triple-A on July 23, 2010, to take the place of David DeJesus in the Royals' outfield, who was placed on the disabled list with a right thumb sprain.
In spring training in 2011, he led the major leagues in RBIs, with 23. Gordon finished 3rd place behind Paul Konerko and Victor Martinez in the American League Final Vote for the All-Star game with a .299 average to start the year. He broke the Royals single season record and led the majors in outfield assists. He was also second in the majors in doubles, along with teammate Jeff Francoeur.
In 2011, he led all major league outfielders in assists, with 20. On November 1, 2011 it was announced that he had won his first American League Gold Glove for left fielder.
On February 9, 2012, Gordon signed a one-year, $4.775 million deal with the Royals to avoid arbitration. In the process, Gordon filed for $5.45, while the Royals countered with $4.15. Under that agreement, he could have earned an additional $25K if he had reached 700 plate appearances, putting him at the original midpoint., however, on March 30, he signed a four-year, $37.5 million extension with the Royals with a player option for 2016, becoming the third Royal player to sign an extension in the off season. Gordon earned $6 million in 2012, $9 million in 2013, $10 million in 2014 and $12.5 million in 2015, but declined to exercise his player option of $12.5 million for 2016. Gordon would otherwise have become a free agent after 2013.
Gordon finished the 2012 season with a .294 batting average and led the majors with doubles, totaling 51 doubles.
2013 was another exceptional year for Gordon. He finished with the season with 90 runs scored, 168 hits, 27 doubles, six triples, 20 home runs, 81 RBIs, and a .265 batting average. He earned his third consecutive Gold Glove Award for his spectacular defense in left field and earned his first career All Star selection.
In the 2014 season, Gordon scored 87 runs, had 150 hits, 34 doubles, one triple, 19 home runs, 74 RBI, 12 stolen bases, and a .266 BA. On July 6, 2014, he was named to the 2014 All Star Team for the second consecutive year. On August 6, he recorded his 1,000th career hit when he singled off Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley. On August 26, he passed Wade Boggs for the most home runs hit by a Nebraskan in the Major Leagues. 13 of his 19 home runs either tied the game (3) or given the Royals the lead (10).
Gordon mostly struggled during the Royals' run to the World Series. On October 10, in Game 1 of the ALCS, against the Baltimore Orioles, he had three hits, including a go-ahead solo homer in the 10th inning. However, in Game 2, he went 0-4 with four strikeouts. He represented the tying run in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, when with two outs, he lined a long single to left center and reached third base when Giants' center fielder Gregor Blanco misplayed the ball. However, he was stranded when catcher Salvador Pérez fouled out to Pablo Sandoval to end the game and the series. In the 2014 Playoffs, Gordon batted just .204, including six doubles, and one home run.
Following offseason wrist surgery, Gordon struggled out of the gate in 2015. In his first 20 at-bats, he recorded just three hits. On April 26, in a game against the White Sox, Gordon leaped into the Chicago crowd to catch a foul ball for an out. A spectacular defensive play, and was retired after being the reigning Web Gem on Baseball Tonight for 50 straight days. He finished the regular season hitting .271/.377/.432 with 18 doubles, 13 home runs, and 48 RBIs.
On July 8, against the Tampa Bay Rays, Gordon was injured attempting to chase down a fly ball by Logan Forsythe, which resulted in an inside-the-park homerun as Gordon could not get back up. After being carted off the field, he was diagnosed with a left groin strain and placed on the 15-Day DL, and was projected to be out six to eight weeks. Gordon had just come off a 7-hit double header the night before against the Rays (tying the Royals record for most hits in a double header), hitting a double and a homerun. On September 2, Gordon was activated from the DL and went 2-for-3, with an RBI and run scored against the Detroit Tigers .
2015 World SeriesEdit
In Game 1 of the 2015 World Series, Gordon hit a ninth-inning home run off of New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia to tie the game at 4. The Royals would go on to win, 5-4, in 14 innings. Combined in the postseason, Gordon hit .241 with 2 homers, 6 RBI and a .771 OPS.
Gordon became a World Champion when the Royals won the World Series in five games over the Mets, the first World Series won by the Royals since 1985. Gordon, along with all of the Royals, attended the World Series parade and pep rally in downtown Kansas City, Missouri at Union Station on November 3.
On January 6, 2016, Gordon signed a four-year deal worth $72 million to remain with the Royals with a mutual option for the 2020 season. On May 22, 2016, Gordon collided with Royals' third-baseman Mike Moustakas while chasing a Melky Cabrera pop-up into foul territory down the left field line against the Chicago White Sox. Gordon suffered a scaphoid fracture in his right wrist and was placed on the disabled-list where he missed 29 games. He finished 2016 hitting .220/.312/.380 with a career high 148 strikeouts in 445 at-bats.
On May 4, 2017, Gordon was hit by a pitch from the White Sox's Derek Holland. This was Gordon's 79th career hit by pitch, setting the Royals' franchise record, previously held by Mike Macfarlane. On September 19, Gordon hit the 5,694th home run of the MLB season against Ryan Tepera, breaking the record for the most home runs in an MLB season, with the previous record having been set in the 2000 season. For the season, he batted .208/.293/.315. His .315 slugging percentage in 2017 was the lowest of all qualified major league batters.
In 2018, Gordon hit .245/.324/.370 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs. He also won his sixth Gold Glove.
Baseball card issueEdit
Gordon gained distinction through his baseball card shortly after being drafted in 2006. Topps issued Gordon's rookie card prematurely, as only players on 25-man rosters or who have played in at least one Major League game are eligible. As a result, Topps stopped producing the card and cut holes in some of the existing cards. Examples that found their way into retail stores have garnered bids in the thousands of dollars on eBay.
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- 2003 Big 12 All-Tournament Team
- 2003 Honorable-Mention All-Big 12
- 2003 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American
- 2004 First-Team All-Big 12
- 2004 Big 12 Player of the Year.
- 2004 NCBWA District VI Player of the Year
- 2004 First Team All-American
- 2004 Baseball America First Team Summer All-American
- 2005 Big 12 All-Tournament Team
- 2005 First Team All-Big 12
- 2005 Big 12 Player of the Year
- 2005 NCBWA District VI Player of the Year
- 2005 First Team All-American
- 2005 Baseball America Player of the Year
- 2005 ABCA National Player of the Year
- 2005 Brooks Wallace Award
- 2005 Dick Howser Trophy
- 2005 Golden Spikes Award
- 2005 ESPY Award Finalist for Male College Athlete of the Year
- 2006 Baseball America Double-A All-Star
- 2006 MLB.com Double-A Offensive Player of the Year
- 2006 Baseball America Minor League All-Star
- 2006 Texas League Player of the Year
- 2006 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year
- 2011 AL Left Field Rawlings Gold Glove Award
- 2012 Fielding Bible Award
- 2012 AL Left Field Rawlings Gold Glove Award
- 2013 AL All-Star
- 2013 AL Left Field Rawlings Gold Glove Award
- 2013 Fielding Bible Award
- 2014 AL All-Star (did not play due to injury)
- 2014 AL Left Field Rawlings Gold Glove Award
- 2014 Fielding Bible Award
- 2014 Platinum Glove Award
- 2015 Hutch Award
- 2015 AL All-Star (did not play due to injury)
- 2015 World Series Champion
- 2016 Yale Champion
- 2017 AL Left Field Rawlings Gold Glove Award
- 2018 Lincoln Southeast High School Athletics Hall Of Fame
- 2018 Fielding Bible Award
- 2018 AL Left Field Rawlings Gold Glove Award
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- Flanagan, Jeffrey (January 6, 2016). "Gordon returns to fold for Royals". Major League Baseball. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
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- Doherty, Cole (June 25, 2016). "Kansas City Royals: The Return of Alex Gordon". isportsweb. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
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- Major League Leaderboards » 2017 » Batters » Dashboard | FanGraphs Baseball
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