Born: February 10, 1984

He’ll be forever remembered for a tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 2015 World Series that sent the Kansas City Royals on their way.

Well, that and a decade of stellar defense from all over left field as well as playing his entire career for only one organization, a rare distinction in the game today.

What a legacy Alex Gordon left for all to admire.

In fact, it’s why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted Gordon with the Class of 2020.

Gordon retired following the 2020 season, having spent his entire 14-year big-league career with the Royals. The No. 2 overall selection in the 2005 draft out of the University of Nebraska, Gordon helped Kansas City win American League pennants in 2014 and 2015, with the 2015 club winning the World Series.

His tying home run in Game 1 in the bottom of the ninth inning – it was against the New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia – propelled the Royals to a 14-inning victory. Days later, the Royals won it all for the first time in 30 years.

Defensively, Gordon was an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner – tying Frank White’s franchise record – and set the bar high on playing outfield defense. Between 2010 and 2020, his 101 assists were the most in Major League Baseball. He also was a three-time American League All-Star and finished within the Top 10 of several Royals career statistical categories.

When he re-signed a one-year deal with the Royals in early 2020, media asked Gordon about staying longer if the Royals became a contender again. His answer said everything about his love for Kansas City.

“This is my hometown now. This is where I live and my kids are growing up,” Gordon said that day. “It’d mean a lot to stay here my whole career.”

In essence, Gordon is one of the most inspiring stories in Royals history.

You see, he was drafted as a third baseman but moved to the outfield in 2010, a time when he tried to soldier through tough times at the plate and on defense. In fact, he was optioned that season to Triple-A Omaha in his fourth full season in the big leagues.

Gordon turned it into a positive, later becoming a three-time Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award winner and a Rawlings Platinum Gold Glove Award winner in 2014.

“Alex worked as hard or harder than anybody I’ve ever been around,” then-Royals manager Ned Yost (MSHOF 2020) once said. “I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever seen a more consistent harder worker than Alex Gordon. There’s just nobody in my whole career (that I’ve seen) that dedicated to not only diet, strength training and hard work in practice every single day to be the best he can be. Alex Gordon is it.”

That Gordon was a defensive maestro was not a surprise to those deep within the organization.

In a 2006 Double-A Wichita game in Springfield, Gordon executed one of the most breath-taking plays that remains among the best ever at Hammons Field, which opened in 2005.

With a runner at third base and less than two outs, Gordon – playing third base — back-pedaled to about halfway up the left-field line. Because the flyball broke late toward foul territory, Gordon had to reach across his body and make the catch as he fell to the ground.

The runner at third was sent to the plate – and yet Gordon bounced up as if he was on a springboard, then fired a strike to the catcher. The runner was a dead duck, so to speak.

Years later, Gordon’s athleticism would fill up highlight reels. He chased down foul balls and would fall into the stands, or range toward left-center and crash into outfield walls. And don’t dare try to take an extra base. His throws became lasers.

Along the way, he became a fixture for the Royals, ultimately ending his career among the top six in 10 franchise categories. That included ranking fourth in home runs (190) and sixth in games played (1,753), hits (1,641), runs (867) and RBI (749).

“When you look at the way the young fans look at this game and celebrate Alex Gordon, what he means to this game and the history of our game, the example he sets, the behavior he models,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told the Kansas City Star, “to do it in the same place for one city is special and will always be remembered.”