This Date In Royals History – October 21, 1985


Thumbnail image for Hal_McRae_S_0b004.jpgToday we’ll stay with the 1985 World Series, but this was an off day so let’s talk some philosophical baseball strategy put forward by Royals Manager Dick Howser. Keep in mind the Royals were heading to St. Louis down two games to none and the main culprit in the losses had been an inability to score runs. Which begged a very simply question…

 

During the off-day workouts at Busch Stadium on Monday, October 21, 1985 several media members wanted to know if Dick Howser had any plans to insert Designated Hitter Hal McRae in the field to get his bat in the Royals line-up. McRae was a proven run-producer, but Howser was quick to respond:

 

“We wouldn’t do that…No way we’d do it. That would be panicking, and we’re not going to panic.”  

 

That sure sounds like Dick Howser to me, and he was true to his word. But what many people didn’t know is that McRae was nursing an injury which may well have limited his playing time had the DH been allowed and certainly precluded his playing in the field. In fact Hal had not played in the field since April 14, 1982.

 

McRae did have three pinch-hit appearances in the series, but only one official at-bat. He was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning of Game One; he ground into a force out in the seventh inning of Game Four; and he collected a key intentional walk in the ninth inning Game Six rally.

 

Many people talk about the impact the loss of Vince Coleman had on the Cardinals offense in the 1985 World Series, but not many of them point out the loss of McRae to the Royals. In the regular season, if you add the runs scored and RBI for both Coleman and McRae divided by the number of games they played you see they were both important to their respective teams offensive – McRae even ever so slightly more:

 

Hal McRae – 1985 Regular Season

Runs Scored

RBI

Games Played

Runs Created/Game Played

41

70

112

.99

 

Vince Coleman – 1985 Regular Season

Runs Scored

RBI

Games Played

Runs Created/Game Played

107

40

151

.97

 

Just A Bit More: The Designated Hitter was first introduced in the American League for the 1973 season, however it was not used in World Series play until 1976. Beginning in 1976 the DH was in use for all World Series games in even numbered years, at least until 1985. The I-70 World Series was the last in which there was no-DH at all.

 

Starting in 1986 the DH has been in use for all World Series games in American League parks. In other words, the home team rules so to speak.

 

(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame)

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