This Date In Royals History – October 13, 1985
Back to the playoffs and on this date a pivotal yet largely forgotten game from the 1985 postseason run for the Royals. As we covered a couple of days ago George Brett’s greatest game helped get Kansas City a win against Toronto in ALCS Game 3, but the Royals lost Game 4 here at home and faced elimination for the first time…luckily it wouldn’t be the last.
Sunday afternoon October 13, 1985 and it seemed all of Canada (or at least Toronto) was sure the World Series was heading north with the Blue Jays. But in Game 5 the Royals tried instead to send the American League Championship Series back to the Great White North with the World Series still in doubt.
Dick Howser sent LHP Danny Jackson (from the University of Oklahoma – as a Sooner I’m required to get that in here) to the mound to keep the Royals season alive. Though his starting rotation mate Bret Saberhagen rightly gets credit as the Royals postseason pitching hero, without Jackson’s less heralded – but no less spectacular – effort the run would have screeched to a halt right here.
The Royals scored one in the first when Lonnie Smith doubled, stole third and came home on a George Brett groundball. In the second Frank White led-off with a bunt single, advanced to third on a Steve Balboni hit and scored on a Sac Fly off the bat of Darryl Motley. As it turned out that was more than enough offense for Jackson. He was absolutely dominant – throwing a complete game shutout scattering eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts. After the game I’ll always remember the crown scoreboard message:
“Good Luck In Toronto – Bring Us Back A World Series”
Just A Bit More: Speaking of Lonnie Smith, here are some interesting notes regarding our old friend ‘Skates’. While Smith was not a superstar by any means, he was a successful player with a solid 17-year MLB career. Did you know he finished third in the 1980 National Rookie of the Year voting? It’s true, just behind Montreal’s Bill Gullickson and the winner Steve Howe of the Dodgers. He followed that by placing second in the 1982 National League MVP race behind Atlanta’s Dale Murphy.
But the most fascinating trend in his career is this one. Lonnie was drafted by Philadelphia and in his first full year with the Phillies they won the 1980 World Series (defeating the Royals). He was traded to St. Louis and in his first season with the Cardinals they won the 1982 World Series. He was traded from St. Louis to Kansas City on May 17, 1985 and in that first season with the Royals…
Well, guess what? Talk about coming full circle!
(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame)