On a chilly evening at Royals Stadium, KC Royals fans witnessed a historic moment in franchise history on Sunday, October 10, 1976. The Kansas City Royals, a relatively young team at the time, secured their first-ever postseason victory by defeating the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS). The final score: Royals 7, Yankees 3.
The golden age of KC Royals baseball really started on Oct. 10, 1976.
The game was a rollercoaster ride, with momentum shifts and a big finish. Both starting pitchers struggled to find their rhythm, with Ed Figueroa for the Yankees and Dennis Leonard for the Royals facing early challenges. However, the story of the game would be the heroic performance of Paul Splittorff, a left-handed pitcher for Kansas City.
In the third inning, Leonard was knocked out of the game, leading to Splittorff's entry. Throughout 5 2/3 innings, Splittorff showcased his skill, holding the Yankees scoreless and demonstrating his crucial role in the Royals' historic win. Splittorff's contributions on the mound would leave an indelible mark on the franchise's history.
The pivotal moment arrived in the sixth inning when the Royals, trailing 3-2, mounted a comeback. John Mayberry played a starring role by driving in George Brett to tie the game. Moments later, Tom Poquette, an unsung hero thrust into action due to an injury, delivered a key hit that put the Royals ahead 4-3. Poquette's clutch performance epitomized the Royals' determination to secure their first postseason win.
The Royals didn't stop there. In the eighth inning, they added three more runs to seal the victory and make history. The game concluded with a final score of 7-3, and the ecstatic crowd of 41,091 fans celebrated their team's achievement.
As of 2020, Paul Splittorff's 166 career wins remain the franchise record, a testament to his enduring impact on Kansas City baseball. This milestone win in 1976 marked the beginning of a new era for the Royals and new rivalry, setting the stage for future successes and memorable moments in the years to come. It was a night that Royals fans would cherish forever as they watched their team claim its first postseason victory.