Phelps spent 11 seasons in the big leagues, playing for six teams and hitting .239 with 123 home runs. He broke in with the Kansas City Royals in 1980 and played 10 games for the Montreal Expos in 1982 before finding a home with the Seattle Mariners in 1983. Phelps hit 24 home runs in 101 games for Seattle in 1984 then hit 24 more in 125 games in 1986. He had the best year of his career in 1987 when he slammed 27 home runs to go with 68 RBIs for Seattle. Both numbers would end up being his career highs. Phelps hit 24 home runs in 1988, a year that saw him traded mid-season to the New York Yankees. Phelps lasted about a year in pinstripes before being sent to the Oakland A’s in middle of the 1989 season. His career concluded the following season which he split between Oakland and Cleveland.
Phelps played in one game of the 1989 World Series for Oakland. He pinch hit for A’s pitcher Mike Moore in the top of the seventh inning of Game 4 and hit a pop fly to shortstop. Oakland won the game 9-6 and swept the San Francisco Giants to win the series.
The first hit of Phelps’ career came at Royals Stadium on May 4, 1981 as his Royals were hosting the Boston Red Sox. Phelps led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a triple to left field off Bob Stanley. He was replaced by a pinch runner who scored and sent the game into extra innings.
Phelps hit his first home run two years later when he was playing for the Mariners against the California Angles in Anaheim. He took Mike Witt deep to lead off the fifth inning, helping Seattle to an 8-1 victory.
The last home run of Phelps’ career broke up a perfect game bid by Seattle Mariner Brian Holman on April 20, 1990. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of a game between the A’s and Seattle, Phelps stepped in as a pinch hitter and launched the first pitch he saw from Holman out of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, ruining Holman’s bid for perfection. Holman retired the next batter, Rickey Henderson, to get the final out of the game.
Ken Phelps – career stats