Kansas City Royals History: 1985 Team Opens World Series

OMAHA, NE - July 19: Two-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner and 1985 World Series Champion Willie Wilson visited a local Pitstop Automotive
OMAHA, NE - July 19: Two-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner and 1985 World Series Champion Willie Wilson visited a local Pitstop Automotive /

Fresh off a miraculous comeback in the 1985 ALCS, the Kansas City Royals opened the World Series on this date 32 years ago. Here’s how the famous I-70 Series began.

(Editor’s note: This is one of several on-this-date posts that KoK will publish throughout the 2017 postseason. They will highlight the postseason success of the Kansas City Royals over the years with particular emphasis given to 2014 and 2015—given the strong ties to the current squad.)

The Kansas City Royals made their World Series debut in 1980. Five years later, they returned to face intrastate and interstate (70) neighbor St. Louis. That latter series kicked off exactly 32 years ago.

Despite finishing with 101 wins—10 more than the Kansas City Royals, the Cardinals began the 1985 World Series on the road due to the alternating AL/NL home-field format. It didn’t seem to faze St. Louis at all.

In Game 1, the Cardinals cooled off a Royals team bringing a ton of momentum into their second-ever world championship appearance. As often seemed the case during their home playoff games in the 1970s and ’80s, Kansas City took an early lead only to see the road team fight back for a win.

How it Happened

This time around it was just a slender 1-0 lead the Kansas City Royals had after two innings. Although, it could have easily been more. Steve Balboni drove in what turned out to be the Royals only run off John Tudor with one out. Tudor, though, escaped without further damage.

It allowed the Cardinals to rally over the next few innings against Kansas City starter Danny Jackson. Willie McGee drove in the tying run in the third inning; Cesar Cedeno brought home the go-ahead run in the fourth.

That was all Jackson would allow, as he gave up just four hits and two walks against seven strikeouts over seven strong innings. Tudor, though, virtually matched him. He went 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts against seven hits and a pair of walks. However, he allowed just one run.

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Kansas City’s best chance to get back in the game came in the seventh inning. With two outs, Lynn Jones hit a triple and Tudor plunked Hal McRae with a pitch. That led to Todd Worrell replacing Tudor. Worrell walked the first man he faced to load the bases, but Willie Wilson popped out to end the threat.

The top of the ninth saw the Cardinals push across a big insurance run. Dan Quisenberry gave up a single and a double to start the inning. The double, which came off the bat of Jack Clark, gave St. Louis a 3-1 lead. In the bottom half, Pat Sheridan led off with a double but his teammates couldn’t bring him home sending the Royals to a tough Game 1 loss.

Impact Moving Forward

Obviously, coming back from losing the opener of a seven-game series wasn’t a foreign concept for the Kansas City Royals. They had just done so against the Blue Jays in the ALCS. Apparently, the team thought it needed to follow the ALCS script precisely, as the Royals also went on to lose Game 2, win Game 3 and lose Game 4 to face a steep uphill climb.

Next: Reflecting on Void Left by Ventura

We all know how it turns out, but we can discuss that some other time.