This Date In Royals History – September 23, 1977
The 1977 Royals are considered by many to be the best team in club history and its hard to argue with 102 wins. In fact that team rattled off a Royals record 16-game winning streak from August 31 through September 15, and then after that one loss went on to post eight more consecutive wins for good measure (How about a 24-1 stretch?…Incredible).
On Friday, September 23, 1977 – the 21st win in that run – the Royals clinch their second American League Western Division title with a 7-3 win at Anahaeim. Dennis Leonard picked up his 19th win that night striking out 13 Angels in a five-hit complete game (Naturally a complete game – as Leo set a Royals record with 21 that year…you read that right 21).
The hitting star that night was right-fielder Al Cowens who went 3-5 with three doubles and five RBI. Cowens would go on to finish second in the 1977 American League MVP voting behind Rod Carew of the Minnesota Twins.
Just A Bit More: Al Cowens career with the Royals is really quite remarkable when looking back at it years later. Not only did he make a run at the 1977 AL MVP Award, but was named the Royals Player of the Year and won a Gold Glove to top it all off. Not bad for a player taken in the 75th round during Kansas City’s 1969 June Draft. Now that’s a real ‘diamond in the rough’ for that first Royals Scouting Department.
(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame)