First Flight with the Blue Jays

Well that was a long first roadtrip, but 4-5 on a nine-game trek gets us back home in decent shape with a chance to hopefully gain some momentum. Finishing with a get-away day win really helps the vibe as we enter a big weekend series against the Twins (Fireworks on Friday and Greinke Bobbleheads on Saturday – come out and join us!).

As the Royals battled the Blue Jays this afternoon it reminded me of the similar trajectories of the two organizations over an extended period of time. Both arrived as expansion newcomers, grew into perennial contenders and have now fought their way through some tough years. Of course the history of the two franchises intersected in the 1985 ALCS when the first Blue Jays won their first division title before falling to the Royals on their way to Kansas City’s first World Series Title.

The clubs met for the first time during the Blue Jays inaugural season of 1977. Their initial meeting took place on April 29 at Royals Stadium with Kansas City claiming a 6-1 win. Take a look at the Royals line-up for that game – a team that would lead Major League Baseball with 102 wins and win a second consecutive AL West Championship:

 Toronto Blue Jays at Kansas City Royals (Friday – April 29, 1977)

 

Kansas City Royals

AB

R

H

RBI

George Brett (3B)

4

1

2

1

Hal McRae (DH)

3

2

0

0

Tom Poquette (LF)

4

1

2

1

John Mayberry (1B)

3

1

1

0

Amos Otis (CF)

4

0

0

0

Darrell Porter (C)

3

0

2

3

Al Cowens (RF)

4

0

0

0

Fred Patek (SS)

3

1

1

0

Frank White (2B)

2

0

0

0

 

Pitcher

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Jim Colborn

9

7

1

1

5

3

 

Yes – you read that correctly…George Brett was batting from the lead-off position. Whitey Herzog used George in the lead-off spot quite often in that early part of his Hall of Fame career. (Look at that complete game by Jim Colborn)

 

What about the Blue Jays starting line-up?

 

Toronto Blue Jays

AB

R

H

RBI

Bob Bailor (CF)

5

1

3

0

Jim Mason (SS)

3

0

0

0

Al Woods (LF)

4

0

0

0

Otto Valez (RF)

3

0

0

0

Ron Fairly (DH)

2

0

0

0

Doug Ault (1B)

4

0

1

0

Alan Ashby (C)

3

0

2

0

Dave McKay (3B)

3

0

0

0

Pedro Garcia (2B)

4

0

1

0

 

Pitcher

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Bill Singer

6.2

8

6

5

2

1

Pete Vuckovich

1.1

0

0

0

1

0

 

That’s the same Pete Vuckovich in relief who would go on to win the 1982 American League Cy Young Award with the pennant winning Milwaukee Brewers. None of the those Blue Jays were on the club that squared off with the Royals for the American League title eight years later – though catcher Ernie Whitt joined Toronto in May of 1977 and was still with Toronto in 1985.

 

(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame)

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