Kansas City’s second chance at a major league franchise: The KC Royals
This is where the history of these two teams begins. Starting in 1976, they would meet in the American League Championship Series for four out of five years. If that does not stoke the competitive fires, nothing will.
The Yankees were itching to get back to the World Series themselves, not having been in over a decade. Chris Chambliss ended the series on a walk-off homer and the fire was lit for these two clubs. It is a great clip with Howard Cosell on the call and I am surprised Chambliss was able to make it to home plate with the mob on the field.
1977 would bring more heartache as the Royals coughed up a two games to one lead. The next year was not as competitive as the Yankees won in four games. Finally, George Brett brought immense pride to the City of Fountains with his own late-inning heroics as KC swept NY in the 1980 ALCS.
The manager of the Yankees in 1980? Dick Howser. He led the team to a 103-59 record but did not come back the following season mostly due to the playoff result against the Royals. That would turn out to be great fortune as Kansas City hired Howser during the next season and the rest was history for his legacy in KC.
Then 1983 brought us the infamous “Pine Tar Game” in which Billy Martin waited to see if Brett would hurt New York in a game. He had a plan all along to protest the bat Brett used but wanted his complaint to come at a key junction in a game. Boy, he got that.
The two teams have not met in the playoffs since 1980. It was close in 1985 as the Royals won their division on the way to their first World Series victory but even with 97 victories, the Yankees fell two games back of the Toronto Blue Jays.