Brett gets royal treatment from fans

October 04, 1992

Hit No. 3,001 by George Brett was for the 24,590 fans wh came to honor him Friday night.

Brett, the main attraction in an otherwise meaningless game between the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals, made his first appearance at home since getting career hit No. 3,000 in Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday night.

Brett, who was met at the airport by about 250 fans late Thursday night, was greeted with a standing ovation in each of his four at-bats on Friday, the loudest cheers coming when he singled to right off John Smiley in the seventh. The single led to the Royals' only run in a 5-1 loss.

"The fans, that first ovation in that first at-bat was great. I would have loved to have stayed out there for an hour," Brett said. "But we've got a game to play. Smiley is out there to pitch and I'm up there to hit. This is not a circus; this is a war. I didn't want to disrupt him."

In the first inning, Brett turned to face the crowd and waved his bat in recognition of the fans.

The fans stood as he took a ball, fouled off two pitches and then flied out. He grounded out in the fourth.

He received an extended standing ovation in the seventh after grounding a single. Brett acknowledged the cheers with a wave of his cap.

"You get a hit. What's the big deal about 3,001 when you've got 3,000?" Brett said laughing at the hit that moved him past Roberto Clemente into 17th place on the career list.

"The fans have been very nice to me over 19 years," Brett said. "You hear it [cheering] when you step up there. It made me feel uncomfortable because the pitcher has a job to do and I have a job to do.

"I didn't want Smiley just standing out there. There are nine guys out there trying to play the game. I don't want to show those guys up. I respect them. I have never said a word to him [Smiley], but I don't want to show him up."

Brett has said he would play one more game, yesterday, and sit out the season finale today. He has said he will decide during the winter whether to return for a 20th season.

"I was just hoping he would get a base hit," manager and former teammate Hal McRae said. "The last six weeks, that's what they've stayed for. The last six weeks, whenever they figured it was his last at-bat, it was like a bomb scare. Or a Chinese fire drill. They got out. It's time to get the kids and get out. Rise early tomorrow. Go to work. There is nothing left here to see."

* RED SOX: Catcher Tony Pena has signed a contract extension with Boston through the 1993 season.

Details were not released in the announcement yesterday.

Pena, 35, originally was signed to a three-year Red Sox contract as a free agent in November 1989.

Pena has started 121 games for the Red Sox this season.

He led American League catchers in games played in 1990 and 1991.

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