This Date In Royals History – September 30, 1985
There were many key games for the Royals in October of 1985, but one of the most pivotal in franchise history came in the final day of September that season. When big events happen – like winning the World Series – we often look back years later with a sense that the outcome was somehow inevitable. But of course that never really is the case and nothing was inevitable for the Royals that year, let alone that last week of the regular season.
Having just been swept in a three games series at Minnesota, Dick Howser’s 1985 Royals looked at the morning paper on Monday, September 30, 1985 and found themselves a game behind California with just one week left to go. The season hung in the balance and that night Kansas City began a four game showdown with the first-place Angels at Royals Stadium.
Doug DeCinces’ HR gave the Angels a fourth inning lead, but George Brett tied it with a HR in the bottom of the inning (there he is again – his first of three HRs in the series and five that final week). Jim Sundberg’s seventh inning HR put KC in front. In the eighth a lead-off Willie Wilson triple and a Brett sacrifice fly gave Bret Saberhagen all he needed. For good measure, Sabes captured his 20th win of the season, ending the game with a called third strike on Reggie Jackson.
Just A Bit More: The Royals won 3 of the 4 games against California and jumped back into first-place to stay. But that game 19 years ago tonight was the first in a run of must-win games that culminated in Kansas City’s 1985 World Championship. In reality that Angels series could be seen as the start of the playoffs. The Royals won the division by a single game and without that series win against California all the drama of the ALCS and I-70 World Series may well have never happened.
(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame)