September 2009

This Date In Royals History – September 24, 1984

Bret Saberhagen 1985.jpg
The morning of Monday, September 24, 1984 the Royals looked at the American League Western Division Standings and found themselves in a dead-even tie with the Minnesota Twins for first-place (both with 80-75 records).

Just one and a half games back, with seven games left in the season, were the California Angels in Kansas City for a four game series starting with a Doubleheader at Royals Stadium. Royals Manager Dick Howser sent a one-two punch of rookie pitchers to the mound to battle for Kansas City in the a very tight pennant chase.

In Game One, Bret Saberhagen tossed his first career complete game and shut-out the Angels on just three hits for a 4-0 win. In Game Two, Danny Jackson got the win working seven innings and giving up three runs while the Royals offense expoded for a 12-4 victory. Darryl Motley led the way with a six RBI night that included a Grand Slam HR.

The sweep all but eliminated the Angels from the chase, and though the Twins also won, the Royals were in first all alone by one-half game at the end of the night. Minnesota didn’t win again the last week of the season and four days later the Royals clinched their fifth and perhaps most surprising division title with a win in Oakland.

Just A Bit More: The World Champion Detroit Tigers started the 1984 season with a nine-game winning streak and after forty games had a record of 35-5. It was a truly amazing performance that saw the Tigers hold first-place from wire-to-wire that year. But their first loss of 1984 came at Tiger Stadium on Thursday, April 19 to a rookie pitcher for Kansas City making his first-ever major league start. Bret Saberhagen pitched six innings and gave up only one run to capture the first win of his great Royals career with three innings of help from Dan Quisenberry (with the save of course).

(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame) 

This Date In Royals History – September 23, 1977

Al Cowens.jpg
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) 

Quiz Named to Alma Maters Hall of Fame

Dan Quisenberry.jpgRoyals Hall of Fame relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry will be inducted into the Orange Coast College Hall of Fame this Saturday, September 26 in Costa Mesa, CA.

Dan pitched for the OCC Pirates and later for the Leopards from the University of La Verne (La Verne, CA) before being signed as an undrafted free agent on June 7, 1975 by one of the greatest scouts in franchise history – Rosey Gilhousen. Though they are both gone each will always be remembered for their contributions to Royals Baseball.

Great Job Rosey…Congratulations Dan!

BTW – Why didn’t Quiz receive more support for National Baseball Hall of Fame induction? Check the numbers on other relievers enshrined in Cooperstown from the same era, especially Bruce Sutter – they are very similar.

Joe Posnanski started to make the case once. Maybe we’ll revist that issue sometime soon.

(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame) 

Welcome to Royals Then, Now Forever

RHOF.JPGFor all those who have stopped to visit the Royals Hall of Fame (RHOF) since the Grand Opening of the building here at Kauffman Stadium on July 17, 2009, let us extend a huge thank you for your support of the project. So far more than 40,000 fans have come through the doors and counting…

If you haven’t had the chance to come out and join us yet here is your written invitation to check out what so many people had a hand in creating. The project was over a year and a half in the making and the way we look at it this is just the start. Over time we look forward to shedding light on even more great stories, interesting people and thrilling moments from not only Royals history but also from the 125 years of professional baseball in Kansas City.

The Royals Hall of Fame is open during every Royals home game at no additional charge with your game ticket. The RHOF will also be open during the off-season every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10am-4pm.

Drop by and let us know what you think. 

Also drop by here at Royals Then, Now & Forever (Royals TNF) every so often as we share news, notes and stories related to Kansas City Royals History. In the words Jack Layden, the original voice of Municipal and Royals Stadium for the Royals – “It’s great to have you with us!”

(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame)