Keep Your KC Royals Ticket Stub: Willie Wilson runs off the Yanks

Wilson caps a thrilling comeback against Kansas City's hated rivals.

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Kansas City's Willie Wilson sprints to the finish

His team having lost the lead, Piniella continued to torment his former club. He singled in two runs in the top of the seventh to give the Yankees back the lead, 7-6. Not to be outdone, Brett doubled in a run in the bottom of the inning to tie it back up. The situation looked bleak in the ninth, though, when Nettles doubled in Randolph to give New York the lead again.

But few combinations were more potent for the Royals in that era than Wilson and Brett. Wilson walked, advanced to third on a pair of sacrifices, and Brett knocked him in to send the game to extra innings. From there, the bullpens traded goose eggs until the bottom of the 13th.

New York's Ken Clay came out for his second inning of work, and Wilson stepped back into the box. In typical Wilson fashion, he worked fast. He jumped on the first pitch of the inning and lined it to left-center, directly between Mickey Rivers and Roy White, who was playing Wilson along the line.

As reported by the New York Times, Wilson admitted he slowed down to watch the ball as he rounded first base, but when he saw it splash against the turf and roll to the wall, he turned on the jets. The big home crowd urged him onward with a huge collective roar.

Yankee manager Bob Lemon blamed a bad relay throw for the end result, but White echoed the sentiments of most onlookers when he told the Times, "I don't know that it would have made any difference." By the time Nettles ended up with the ball and fired it home, Wilson was already celebrating with his teammates.

No one did inside-the-park home runs quite like Willie Wilson. He hit five of them in 1979 alone, and he has more than any player in major league history since the Deadball Era with 13. But perhaps none were quite as dramatic as his walk-off (or run-off, if you will) against the Yankees on my birthday.

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