On this date in 1985, the Kansas City Royals ended their wait for a first World Series title with a Game 7 win over the Cardinals. It completed a comeback from trailing three games to one. Here’s how it happened.
(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.)
Despite having been an MLB franchise for less than two decades, the Kansas City Royals had suffered plenty of postseason heartbreak entering the 1985 playoffs. The franchise nearly had it happen again when the Blue Jays built a 3-1 lead in the American League Championship Series, only to see the Royals come back to win Game 7 in Toronto.
Even with the momentum gained from the ALCS, the Kansas City Royals struggled early in the World Series against their cross-state opponent. St. Louis won the first two games on the road before Bret Saberhagen went the distance in Game 3. The Cardinals bounced back to take Game 4, putting the Royals in an identical 3-1 hole.
That’s when Kansas City staged another incredible comeback. Pitching hadn’t been a problem for the Royals. (The Cardinals never scored more than four runs in a single game.) Putting up enough runs to support the pitchers was a different story. Game 5 saw the Royals win 6-1 — the same score they had won by in Game 3. What followed was the series-defining Game 6 and the infamous Don Denkinger blown call at first base.
After that game, the Cardinals were almost certainly as dejected as a team could be heading into a winner-take-all game. Saberhagen and the Royals took advantage.