Before They Were Royals: On The Field In High School | KCUR

Before They Were Royals: On The Field In High School

Oct 15, 2014

You’ve seen the boys in blue dominating the field in Baltimore and at the K, but they weren’t always pros.

Credit Keith Allison / Flickr-CC

We take a peek into the past of a few of the Royals… to see how they played in high school.

  • Tim Collins, pitcher
  • Hometown: Worcester, MA

Dave Nordman, deputy managing editor of sports at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, remembers Collins who "was always the smallest player on his team" at 5'5", but "even for his size, he was just the best player on his team by far." (Collins is now 5'7".)

Collins got his start when former Toronto Blue Jays manager J. P. Ricciardi spotted him warming up, Nordman said. Ricciardi had gone to watch another player but heard how hard Collins' pitches were hitting the catcher's glove. Ricciardi was so impressed with Collins that he signed the pitcher to a free agent tryout.

Credit Keith Allison / Flickr-CC

  • Mike Moustakas, 3rd base
  • Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Times sportswriter Eric Sondheimer followed Moustakas throughout his four years of high school and said the Royals third baseman is one of the best to come out of Chatsworth High School.

He got to play at Dodger Stadium for high school championship games, and Sondheimer thinks that experience helped Moustakas, who played shortstop in those days, prepare for the big leagues. 

Sondheimer remembers Moustakas' parents as being low-key at games.

"What's interesting is Moustakas was... a little bit louder than his parents were," Sondheimer said. "His father always showed up to the games, was always behind home plate but was really quiet and not one of those parents who's getting on the umpire a whole lot."

James Shields has been with the Royals since last season.
Credit Kansas City Royals / Facebook

  • James Shields, pitcher
  • Hometown: Newhall, Calif.

Cary Osborne, sports editor at the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, went to high school with Shields.

"He was Jamie back in the day," Osborne said.

Osborne once asked Shields about the switch from Jamie to James when he got to the major leagues, and Shields said that's how the team printed it in the media guide, so he went with it.

"(In high school), he was on the freshman team... he was a hard thrower... I think everybody knew this guy was going to be a star at the varsity level," Osborne said.