WICHITA, Kansas – For years, Royals fans in Wichita enjoyed seeing the future of the franchise take the field at Lawrence Dumont Stadium.
It was 2006. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler were among the most hyped class of prospects to come through Wichita in years.
They would win 77 games and claim the East Division before finishing runner-up to Corpus Christi for the Texas League Title.
“That was a great year. It was a fun experience. We won a lot of games, and you never forget those days,” said Billy Butler, Royals designated hitter.
Butler for his part won the league’s batting title. Gordon belted 29 home runs in route to being named America’s Minor League Player of the Year.
They did so under the watchful of eye of manager Frank White, and despite his strained relationship with the franchise, both give a lot of credit to the Royals Hall of Famer.
“I was 20 at that time. He taught me a lot he groomed me into the player and the hitter I am now mentally and everything and prepared me for the Major Leagues,” said Butler.
“To have an 8-time gold glover help you out, meant a lot to me at the time definitely pushed me and helped me out throughout that season,” said Alex Gordon, Royals left fielder.
And look where they are now, only a three-hour drive up I-35, now playing for baseball’s biggest prize.
“Obviously this is pretty cool. I know the magnitude of what’s going on, at the same time, I know we still have a lot of work to do,” said Gordon.