On this date in 1985, the Kansas City Royals defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 11-0 to win their one and only World Series title.
Think of all that went right that year:
- George Brett had his best power year with 30 homers and won his only Gold Glove (and got robbed of the MVP – though Rickey Henderson probably feels more slighted).
- Steve Balboni hit 36 homers, still the team record.
- An early season trade with those same Cardinals brought Lonnie Smith into the fold and he contributed.
- The pitching staff was remarkably healthy. Four out of the five primary starters started 32 games or more. Mark Gubicza still made 28 starts.
- They were also remarkably young. Bret Saberhagen, Danny Jackson and Gubicza started the year with an average age of 22 years old.
- 1985 was the first year where the League Championship Series was a best of seven series. That enabled the Royals to come back from a 3-1 deficit against Toronto to even reach the World Series.
- Buddy Biancalana, who had a career .553 OPS, had a .435 on base percentage in the World Series, reaching base ten times in his best two weeks of professional baseball.
- Yes – Orta may have been out, but to score twice in the bottom of the ninth to get a win is stroke of great luck (and grit).
Long ago, when I first got a DVD box set of the 1985 World Series, I started writing up recaps as if I were in 1985 and blogging about the games after. I didn’t finish the project of writing the recaps (mea culpa), but those that I did get through are here”
However, while that was a fun experiment, even better is to hear from some of those players. On the Kansas City Baseball Vault, we talked with Greg Pryor and Biancalana on separate occasions to get their input on the championship.
Some day, this team will get back there and we won’t have to rely on memories or stories of the 1985 World Series anymore. Some day.