When Mike Moustakas stepped to the plate, the calls filled Kauffman Stadium


Some from fans wearing antlers, no less.

No more, at least not for now in a Royals uniform. Moustakas was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers late Friday for two players.

He leaves a lasting legacy in Kansas City. The mounting home run totals in the regular season and playoffs, his over-the-rail catch against the Baltimore Orioles in the 2014 American League Championship Series, his chase and overtaking Steve Balboni for the team's season home run record ... all of these moments and more help define Moustakas' eight years in Kansas City.

Here's a closer look at those, and other, Moose moments.

High school phenom

Moustakas' 52 career home runs for Chatsworth (Calif.) High set a state record, and the Royals, selecting early in the draft, as they tended to do in this era, made him the second overall selection in 2017, just behind pitcher David Price.

Moustakas made his major-league debut on June 9, 2011, and was seen as a major building block for an organization on the rise.

Third base tree

Moustakas' adjustment to professional baseball developed slowly. After a May, 2013, game at Oakland, Moustakas' batting average dropped to .189, and when manager Ned Yost was asked about his third baseman's status after the game, he delivered a rant that took on a life of its own.

"You know what?" Yost said. "Maybe when we get home I can go to the third base tree and pick another third baseman. Obviously, third basemen that can hit with power, they must grow on trees."

It was too early to fairly evaluate Moustakas, Yost said.

"The kid is going to be fine," Yost said. "Yes, he's fighting it right now. I've been in baseball my whole life. I know which kids are going to work and which kids aren't. He's going to work. I've seen it too many times. (Being patient) with young guys works. It works.

"But I'm going to tell you something, if I'm wrong on this kid, it'll be the first. I've never been wrong on one of these kids who I've had conviction with. None of them. We're talking about 15 guys over a 30-year career."

Yost was correct, even after the club demoted Moustakas to Omaha in 2014 as he battled another slump.

Postseason magic

Moustakas wasn't exactly tearing it up when the Royals broke a 29-year postseason drought. He entered the 2014 playoffs hitting .212 with 15 home runs.

But Moustakas picked the perfect time to get hot. His solo blast in the 11th inning against the Los Angeles Angles lifted the Royals to a 3-2 victory and got the American League Division Series off to a fantastic start.

Before the postseason run concluded, Moustakas set a club record for playoff home runs in a year with five, and his diving catch over the dugout rail in the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles remains one of the iconic plays in club history.

The final outs of the ALCS in 2014 and 2015 against the Toronto Blue Jays were ground balls to Moustakas.

Moustakas was one of the four remaining Royals on this year's club from the two World Series teams, joining Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar.

The collision

In 2016, Moustakas had just returned from the disabled list with a fractured thumb when he chased a foul ball in Chicago and collided with Gordon. Moustakas suffered a torn ACL and missed the rest of the season. Gordon suffered a broken bone in his hand.

"I play the game hard, just like everybody else in this clubhouse does," Moustakas said. "That's why we're as good as we are. We play the game hard every pitch, and we don't take pitches off."

Home run king

Steve Balboni's club home run record of 36 in a season was set in 1985. Moustakas gave chase in 2017 and didn't stop until he had clubbed 38. The record 37th home run was struck in Toronto.

"It was pretty special to be able to hit that and come in and share that with all my teammates," Moustakas said. "All the guys I've spent 10 years with. It's definitely an awesome feeling and something I'm definitely going to remember for the rest of my life."

Moustakas, on pace to hit 32 home runs this season, stood at 20 and had a Royals-leading 62 RBIs when he was traded to Brewers, where he'll be reunited with former Royals teammate Lorenzo Cain.

His career home run total stands at 139, eighth in Royals history. Moustakas will be remembered as one of the Royals' greats, a mainstay on the franchise's most successful teams of this century.