On this Day: KC Royals Bo Jackson takes Nolan Ryan deep

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

One of the greatest sports figures to ever don a KC Royals uniform has to be outfielder Bo Jackson. He was a hero from folklore during his prime, excelling at whatever sport he wanted to. Injuries cut his sporting career short, but Jackson still gave Royals fans plenty to celebrate during his time in MLB. One such memory came in 1989 against legendary pitcher Nolan Ryan.

Outfielder Bo Jackson impressed KC Royals fans for years, but this home run in 1989 still stands in history.

Jackson faced Ryan in the top of the fith inning on May 23, 1989. The Royals were already down 10-2, with little chance of coming back. Ryan was in the midst of his final All-Star season, still leading the Rangers rotation at 42 years old. Meanwhile, Jackson was about to prove why he also earned All-Star honors in 1989.

Ryan had a full count against Jackson, but Jackson would make Ryan pay on the penultimate pitch. Jackson hit a three-run homer, for an astounding 461 feet against the future Hall of Famer. That was, and will always be, the longest-recorded home run at Arlington Stadium since the Rangers started measuring home runs in their home stadium. Jackson joked after the feat, saying "I think they need to get a new tape measure." The homer brought the game to a 10-5 score, but the Rangers held on to notch a 10-8 win against the Royals.

Ryan had struck out Jackson, "a free swinger", the previous two plate appearances that night. Rangers manager Bobby Valentine summed up the moment as a treat for fans.

“The fans got their money’s worth,” Valentine said “They got to see Nolan strike him out and then [Jackson] hit a blast” 

Both clubs entered and left this game with a winning record, and both had similar season outcomes. The Rangers ended the 1989 season with a fourth-place finish in the AL West, at 83-79. The Royals ended the season second in the AL West with a 92-70 record. Ultimately, neither team made the postseason despite incredible players on both rosters.

Next. Former Royal hurler retires. dark