This Date In Royals History – October 20, 1985
Now if a particular baseball could ever really break your spirit then Game 2 of the 1985 World Series would be a perfect illustration of how such a thing could happen. Except for the fact it was only game two of the series (which is a sizable exception to be sure) then this game would rank right up there in Royals lore with the misery of the twin ALCS Game Five’s in 1976 and 1977.
Sunday, October 20, 1985 looked like it was going to be Leibrandt’s ‘Rembrandt’ and get the Royals even in the World Series before heading east to St. Louis. Instead Charlie’s masterpiece turned into a ninth inning horror show of dinks and dunks that resulted in four Cardinal runs – all scored with two outs – turning a 2-0 Royals led into a 4-2 nightmare loss.
First let’s review what a tremendous performance Charlie Leibrandt put together. Through eight full innings Leibrandt had surrendered two hits with one walk and six strikeouts. He had allowed just three base runners, of which only one made it past first base. It was nearly as good as it gets – then came the ninth…
Willie McGee led-off with a double, but Charlie got Ozzie Smith to ground out and Tommie Herr to fly out. The Royals were one out away. Jack Clark singled to score McGee and the Cardinals were on the board. Then Tito Landrum doubled to left, Caesar Cedeno was walked intentionally and the bases were loaded. Dick Howser put his full confidence in Leibrandt and let him face Terry Pendleton. It was high drama and Pendleton won the battle lobbing a bases clearing double into left field.
Was it hopeless? I can say that Sunday night it sure felt close, but for inspiration Kansas City needed only look at what had happened the week before against Toronto in the ALCS. Yet this was slightly different considering the fact that no team in World Series history had ever lost the first two games at home and come back to win the title.
Just A Bit More: Though the Royals were down they did not feel they were out by any means. Dick Howser knew he had the pitching that could continue to hold the Cardinals in check, if he could only muster a bit more offense and get the key hits going Kansas City’s way.
Whatever extra motivation the Royals needed, and they didn’t need much as it was the World Series, would come in a most unlikely place. When the Royals landed at Lambert Field in St. Louis they were greeted by a large banner which read, “Welcome to St. Louis – Home of the 1985 World Champions.” Only in St. Louis had the laws of mathematics evidently been changed to make two equal four. The Royals had dug a huge hole, but as Dick Hoswer kept telling his team, “They haven’t won four yet.”
(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame)