Mike Sweeney is one of the game's rising young stars- but that was not always the case.
He went into the 1999 season as the
Kansas City Royal's beanch warming catcher. At the start of the season, Sweeney went to one
of his coaches, "I said, 'What are the chances of me staying here in Kansas City?' and he said,
'Mike, you have a zero percent chance of staying here.'"
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Sweeney called a realtor to discuss putting his house on the market. It was Ash Wednesday.
He went to church and got on his knees to talk with God. When he finally stood up, the future
wasn't any clearer, but he will tell you his role in determining it was.
He had some success as a designated hitter and was given a chance at first base to take
over from veteran Jeff King, who had retired. Suddenly, Sweeney was on fire. By the end
of the year he had earned the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award.
He lead the team in 1999 with a .322 batting average. He hit 22 homers and drove in 101 runs.
Sweeney signed a multi-million dollar contract and then improved on his performance in 2000, batting .333 with 29 homers and 144 runs batted in,
just one short of an American League best. His 206 hits were third in the league and his .385
batting average with runners in scoring position was best in the league. He was invited to play
in the prestious Major League "All-Star" game that year.
In 2001, he continued to post great numbers with a .304 batting average with another 29 home runs
and was second in the league with doubles at 46.
Sweeney's father, also a "Mike", played a couple of years with the California Angels organization.
The 6'3" tall, 225 lbs freight train Sweeney was born in Orange, California July 22, 1973. When Mike was born
prematurely and his baseball loving father put a plastic baseball bat in the incubator.
His father started teaching Mike to bat when only three and by the time he was nine it was
starting to show that he was a real chip off the ole' block.
He earned three letters in baseball while in High School and helped his team to a 26-0 record
and state title in 1991. He was selected in the 10th round of the 1991 draft by the Kansas City
Royals right from Ontario High School.
He has served as honorary chairman of the Medical Center of Independence
Benefit Golf Classic in each of the past 3 years, is a spokesperson for the
Royals/Southwestern Bell Perfect Attendance Program and
Kansas City Youth for Christ and is active with the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the
Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Mike is well known for his strong religious beliefs.
He is single and enjoys playing guitar and singing religious songs. He is said by many to
be the nicest guy in Major League Baseball today.
Little known fact: Sweeney made his acting debut on a Saturday Night
Live skit, appearing with Helen Hunt following the 1997 season.
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