KANSAS CITY — The end came as Royals legend Alex Gordon likely preferred: Without any fanfare.
Gordon, who announced his retirement after 14 years with Kansas City on Thursday, came out of Sunday’s game, his final one in the big leagues, in the top of the second inning against Detroit at Kauffman Stadium. Gordon was replaced in left field by Whit Merrifield, who viewed Gordon as his mentor and close friend.
There were hugs from Gordon’s teammates and coaches, and one from manager Mike Matheny. But obviously there were no fans cheering, no sentimental salutes. Gordon’s mother, Leslie, cried as she looked from one of the team’s suites.
The Royals won 3-1 and finished 26-34.
Gordon, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2005 Draft, never sought attention or publicity. He simply did his job, outworked those around him and transformed himself from a third baseman on the brink of being a bust into the industry standard for defensive left fielders — he won seven Gold Gloves.
Gordon did enjoy some of the special attention surrounding his finale. Matheny allowed him to “contribute’” to making out the lineup card. Gordon wound up hitting leadoff, a spot where he once wound up resurrecting his career: He holds the franchise record for leadoff home runs with 14.
Gordon took out the lineup card to the umpires before the start of the game, which was delayed one hour and 35 minutes because of rain.
There also was a touching video tribute on the giant scoreboard behind center field with farewells from Mike Sweeney to Eric Hosmer to Mike Moustakas and many others.
Gordon got one at-bat, working the count full against Jordan Zimmermann before striking out.
Other highlights from Sunday’s game:
• Royals rookie right-hander Brady Singer finished with a solid outing, going seven innings and giving up three hits and one run. He struck out five and lowered his ERA to 4.06.
• Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi continued his sizzling end to 2020, collecting three more hits, including his sixth home run and an RBI double. From Sept. 4 on, Mondesi hit .376.
• First baseman/DH Ryan McBroom snapped a 0-for-16 skid with a home run.