Have there ever been too more physical opposites than Freddie Patek and John Mayberry? “Lil’ Freddie’ was barely over 5-feet tall, and “Big John” was a behemoth and a powerful slugger. The two men were teammates for six seasons on the Kansas City Royals in the 1970s.
Back in April of 2018, Patek and Mayberry visited the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame at Kauffman Stadium. Both are members of the Hall of Fame, but for vastly different reasons.
Patek made an immediate impact with the Royals after coming over in a trade from Pittsburgh, and despite being so small, he rates among our 100 greatest shortstops in baseball history. Patek was fast, acrobatic, and he had a strong arm that belied his size. Patek stole 30 bases or more eight times and played a spirited shortstop.
Mayberry hit 20 or more homers eight times, and three times he drove in 100 runs for the Royals. He ranks as one of the top 100 first basemen in baseball history. In 1976 and 1977, the two teammates helped the Royals win division titles.
In the video below, Patek and Mayberry discuss playing at the original ballpark in Kansas City, and what it was like when Freddie went to John’s mother’s house for dinner.