The first was Jamie Quirk, now KC's bench coach who actually had three tours with the Royals, but was an infielder during the first one (1975-76). The others are Mike Macfarlane, Sal Fasano and Tim Spehr.
Over the years, the Royals have had catchers who were either former standouts past their primes (Bob Boone, Jim Sundberg) or journeymen like, well " the Royals really haven't had a quality catcher in his prime since Darrell Porter (1977-80).
Anyway, the 2001 season is almost at the midway point so the Royals have plenty of time to do more backstop recycling during the next three months.
Here are some of the catchers who just might be donning a KC uniform again (listed in alphabetical order):
Pat Borders -- Shared KC catching duties with Mayne in 1995. Has been with about a dozen teams in the majors and minors since. Don't know where he is now, but if he's breathing he should give the Royals his phone number.
Jorge Fabregas -- Rode the Omaha-Kansas City shuttle last season. Last seen with the Anaheim Angels. Left-handed bat enhances value. Looks good in a suit.
Sal Fasano -- Traded to Oakland last year, then reacquired. Sent to Colorado in the Brent Mayne deal. Third time as a Royal might be the charm, but probably not until Sal starts laying off the pasta. Did Rockies have to order his uniform from Denver Tent and Awning Co.?
Brian Johnson -- Royals' Opening Day backstop in 2000 was released a year ago Saturday. Showed up in Dodgers' 2001 camp as a non-roster player. Former Stanford quarterback has bad knees, but what the heck. Don't call Royals, Brian, they'll call you.
Chad Kreuter -- Switch-hitter was Royals' primary backstop in '99, batting .225 in 107 games. Signed with Dodgers, his eighth major-league team, in 2000 and has been in L.A. since. At 36, one of oldest catchers in big leagues, but has obviously taken care of his body.
Mike Macfarlane -- Mac set record for most games caught by a KC catcher way back in 1994, then signed as free agent with Boston in '95. Hit .225 with Red Sox, was released and rejoined Royals in '96. Now working as one of the analysts on ESPN's Baseball Tonight. Only four months older than Kreuter so don't discount comeback if Royals have injury woes.
Hector Ortiz -- Long-time minor leaguer now back in Omaha. Hit surprising .386 in 26 games late last year. Replaced this month by A.J. Hinch who would have to hit safely in 12 straight plate appearances to reach the Mendoza line " which tells you something about Ortiz's work behind the plate.
Jamie Quirk -- Had three stints with Royals (1975-76, 78-82 and 85-88), but didn't really start catching until second stint. Now 46 and Royals bench coach, it seems unlikely he'll be resurrected as an active player, but he looks like he can still play, so you never know.
Tim Spehr -- First appeared on KC roster in 1991, was sent to Omaha, traded to Montreal and returned to KC in 1997. Never hit a lick anywhere. Turns 35 on Monday. Have no idea where he is now, but I'll bet the Royals do.
-- Sports editor Chuck Woodling can be reached at 832-7147.