1985 World Series
From BR Bullpen
The 1985 World Series began on October 19th and ended on October 27th. The American League champion Kansas City Royals played against the National League champion St Louis Cardinals, winning the series 4 games to 3. The Series was popularly known as the "Show-Me Series", or the "I-70 showdown Series", as both cities are in Missouri, connected by Interstate 70.
The Cardinals won the National League East division by three games over the New York Mets, then defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, four games to two, in the National League Championship Series. The Royals won the American League West division by one game over the California Angels then defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, four games to three, in the American League Championship Series.
The Cardinals were seeking to win their NL-leading tenth World Championship, while the Royals were seeking to become the first AL expansion team to win the World Series.
Questionable calls bythe umpires influenced the outcome of Game 6. In the 4th inning of the scoreless game, Frank White seemed to have stolen second base but was called out by the umpire. Replays later showed that White had been safe, and the following batter, Pat Sheridan, hit a harmless single into the outfield that would otherwise have scored a run. Later in the game, Jorge Orta led off the bottom of the 9th with the Royals trailing 3 games to 2 in the Series and 1-0 on the scoreboard; he hit a ground ball to Cardinal first baseman Jack Clark, who flipped the ball to pitcher Todd Worrell covering first. First base umpire Don Denkinger called Orta safe, but television replays later showed that Worrell had beaten him to the base. The call shifted momentum of the Series to the Royals, who scored twice that inning and won the game, 2-1. With the Cardinals still fuming about the call, the Royals won the Series the next night on Bret Saberhagen's 11-0 shutout.
It was the second Missouri-only World Series: the first was the 1944 World Series between two St. Louis teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns (a team that later moved and is now the Baltimore Orioles).
Although the Royals lost the first two games at home, they overcame their poor start and became World Series champions for the first time, thanks in particular to MVP Bret Saberhagen and his victories in Games 3 and 7.
- Don Denkinger (AL), Bill Williams (NL), Jim McKean (AL), Bob Engel (NL), John Shulock (AL), Jim Quick (NL)
|Game||Score||Date||Location||Attendance||Time of Game|
|1||Cardinals – 3, Royals – 1||October 19||Royals Stadium (Kansas City)||41,650||2:48|
|2||Cardinals – 4, Royals – 2||October 20||Royals Stadium (Kansas City)||41,656||2:44|
|3||Royals – 6, Cardinals – 1||October 22||Busch Stadium (St. Louis)||53,634||3:00|
|4||Royals – 0, Cardinals – 3||October 23||Busch Stadium (St. Louis)||53,634||2:19|
|5||Royals – 6, Cardinals – 1||October 24||Busch Stadium (St. Louis)||53,634||2:52|
|6||Cardinals – 1, Royals – 2||October 26||Royals Stadium (Kansas City)||41,628||2:48|
|7||Cardinals – 0, Royals – 11||October 27||Royals Stadium (Kansas City)||41,658||2:46|
 Game 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - St. Louis Cardinals 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 7 1 Kansas City Royals 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 0 PITCHERS: STL - Tudor, Worrell (7) KC - Jackson, Quisenberry (8), Jackson (9) WP - Tudor LP - Jackson SAVE - Worrell HOME RUNS: STL- none KC- none ATTENDANCE: 41,650
 Game 2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - St. Louis Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 6 0 Kansas City Royals 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 9 0 PITCHERS: STL - Cox, Dayley (8), Lahti (9) KC - Leibrandt, Quisenberry (9) WP - Dayley LP - Leibrandt SAVE - Lahti HOME RUNS: STL- none KC - none ATTENDANCE: 41,656
Charlie Leibrandt continued a history of tough luck in the postseason. The previous year, he had lost Game 3 of the ALCS, 1-0, when he pitched a three-hit complete game. He then lost Game 4 in the 1985 ALCS in the 9th inning. And clinging to a two-run lead in the 9th in this game, manager Dick Howser opted to not send in his relief ace Dan Quisenberry to close out the game. Leibrandt faltered, and only one out from tying the series at one apiece, Leibrandt yielded a bases-loaded double to Terry Pendleton that scored three runs and gave the Cardinals a 4-2 win at Royals Stadium.
 Game 3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Kansas City Royals 0 0 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 6 11 0 St. Louis Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 6 0 PITCHERS: KC - Saberhagen STL - Andujar, Campbell (5), Horton (6), Dayley (8) WP - Saberhagen LP - Andujar SAVE - none HOME RUNS: KC - White STL - none ATTENDANCE: 53,634
The Royals got back into the series by riding ace Bret Saberhagen to a 6-1 victory against twenty-game winner Joaquín Andújar. Saberhagen flashed messages on the television screen to his pregnant wife who was due to give birth any day. She eventually gave birth on October 26th.
 Game 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Kansas City Royals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1 St. Louis Cardinals 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 X 3 6 0 PITCHERS: KC - Black, Beckwith (6), Quisenberry (8) STL - Tudor WP - Tudor LP - Black SAVE - none HOME RUNS: KC - none STL - Landrum, McGee ATTENDANCE: 53,634
John Tudor's complete game shutout put the Cardinals on the verge of winning their second World Series in four years, 3-0. Tito Landrum, only playing due to an injury to Vince Coleman, continued to make his case for MVP with a home run.
 Game 5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Kansas City Royals 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 6 11 2 St. Louis Cardinals 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 1 PITCHERS: KC - Jackson STL - Forsch, Horton (2), Campbell (4), Worrell (6), Lahti (8) WP - Jackson LP - Forsch SAVE - none HOME RUNS: KC - none STL - none ATTENDANCE: 53,634
Entering this game, the Royals were three-for-three in must-win games in the postseason. They ended this one four-for-four with a victory over the Cardinals, again by the score of 6-1. Danny Jackson was the winning pitcher, following the same formula and pitching rotation as the Royals did in the ALCS where Jackson had also won Game 5.
 Game 6
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - St. Louis Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 0 Kansas City Royals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 10 0 PITCHERS: STL - Cox, Dayley (8), Worrell (9) KC - Leibrandt, Quisenberry (8) WP - Quisenberry LP - Worrell SAVE - none HOME RUNS: STL - none KC - none ATTENDANCE: 41,628
Many St. Louis Cardinals fans recall this game as the night the Cardinals won the World Series only to have it stolen from them due to a bad call by first base umpire Don Denkinger. Royals fans' usual counter with an errant "out" call in the 4th inning against Royals star Frank White that ultimately cost the Royals at least one run (which would have left the game at least tied, if not won by the Royals in the bottom of the 9th inning when Denkinger's controversial call was made). A pitcher's duel unfolded between Danny Cox and Charlie Leibrandt, the tough-luck loser in Game 2. They traded goose eggs until the 8th, when Brian Harper singled home Terry Pendleton to give the Cardinals the lead and inside track for the title. But the bottom of the 9th featured controversy and a collapse by the Cardinals.
Whitey Herzog called on rookie reliever Todd Worrell to pitch the 9th. The first batter, Jorge Orta, sent a routine bouncer to Jack Clark. He tossed to Worrell and got Orta for the seeming first out, but umpire Denkinger erroneously called Orta safe. Every replay angle indicated that Orta was out. Instead of one out, the Royals now had one on and slugger Steve Balboni at the plate. Balboni lifted a routine pop-up in foul territory along the first base dugout. Catcher Darrell Porter claimed he had it and then didn't, and the ball fell harmlessly behind Clark. Given a reprieve, Balboni singled, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. Jim Sundberg came to the plate with the mission to move the runners over, but his bunt was fielded perfectly by Worrell, who threw out Orta at third.
But the rally stopper was undone when Porter's passed ball allowed the runners to move up and forced Herzog to walk Royals pinch-hitter Hal McRae. With the bases loaded and one out, another pinch-hitter, Dane Iorg, looped a single to right field. Pinch runner Onix Concepcion scored the tying run and Sundberg approached the plate with the winning run. Andy Van Slyke's throw was on the money, but Porter made a short attempt to tag Sundberg, who slid home safely with the game-winning run.
The Cardinals fumed afterward, blaming Denkinger for the call and the loss. Denkinger was also scheduled to be the home plate umpire in Game Seven.
 Game 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - St. Louis Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 Kansas City Royals 0 2 3 0 6 0 0 0 X 11 14 0 PITCHERS: STL - Tudor, Campbell (3), Lahti (5), Horton (5), Andujar (5), Forsch (5), Dayley (7) KC - Saberhagen WP - Saberhagen LP - Tudor SAVE - none HOME RUNS: STL - none KC - Motley ATTENDANCE: 41,658
One night after becoming a father, Bret Saberhagen tossed a five-hitter and the Royals became the only team to ever come back from a three games to one deficit twice in the same postseason to win the World Series. Saberhagen got all the offense he needed when Darryl Motley homered to left off John Tudor in the 2nd. Tudor left the game trailing in the 3rd, and punched a power fan, resulting in a cut fingertip. In the long 5th inning, reliever Joaquín Andújar twice charged home plate umpire Don Denkinger to disagree with his strike zone, although the clear subtext was simmering anger over the previous night's botched call in the 9th inning. Andújar and Whitey Herzog were both ejected, and Andújar was suspended for the first ten games of the 1986 season as a result of his outburst.
 Composite Box
|Kansas City Royals||1||6||3||4||8||0||2||1||3||28||68||3|
|St Louis Cardinals||1||1||2||1||1||1||0||1||5||13||40||2|
|Total Attendance: 327,494 Average Attendance: 46,785|
|Winning Player’s Share: – $76,342, Losing Player’s Share – $54,922 *Includes Playoffs and World Series|
- This was the first World Series in which all games were played at night.
- The Kansas City Royals became the first team ever to win the World Series after dropping Games 1 and 2 at home.
- The St Louis Cardinals' .185 batting average was the lowest for a seven-game World Series until the New York Yankees hit .183 in the 2001 World Series.
- St Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog was ejected in Game 7 by home plate umpire Don Denkinger. Denkinger had infamously and incorrectly called Jorge Orta safe at first base in the 9th inning of Game 6. When asked about why he would allow himself to get ejected from the seventh game of the World Series, Herzog said "I've seen enough!"
- The day before starting Game 7, World Series MVP Bret Saberhagen's wife Janeane gave birth to the couple's first child, a nine-pound, three-ounce boy named Drew William. By the 8th inning of Game 7, Saberhagen looked directly towards ABC's cameras and asked his wife over the air, "Is the baby still there?"
- John Tudor was so enraged after his performance in Game 7, in which he allowed five earned runs and four walks in 2 1/3 innings, that he took a punch (with his throwing hand) at an electric fan. The fan got the better of the encounter. Many viewers were initially confused when the announcers reported that Tudor had "punched a fan in the clubhouse."
- This was the first World Series that featured commentator Tim McCarver, who called the plays with Al Michaels and Jim Palmer for ABC. Howard Cosell was originally supposed to be in the booth, but he was removed from his assignment just prior to Game 1 because of the controversy surrounding his book I Never Played the Game.
- Game 6 hero (and former Cardinal) Dane Iorg got his nose broken when his teammates, led by 230 pound pitcher Mike Jones, mobbed him after his game-winning hit.
- Perhaps the most memorable image of the Series was George Brett racing over to hug Bret Saberhagen after the clinching out. Just moments earlier, Brett approached his pitcher at the mound and told him to stick around on the mound once the final out was made. Brett said he wanted to make sure Saberhagen went to either himself or Frank White, the two franchise players who had spent 12 years helping get the Royals to that point.
- The St Louis Cardinals scored only 13 total runs - an all-time low for a seven-game series - scoring only once in the final 26 innings of the series. If they had held on for the win in Game 6, they still would have been outscored in the series, 15-13.
- According to George Brett, although he has come in contact with embattled umpire Don Denkinger (briefly crossing paths at banquets for instance) years after the controversial events in the 1985 World Series, Brett has claimed that he has never directly mentioned "The Call" to Denkinger.
- According to Cardinals reliever Todd Worrell, catcher Darrell Porter had a routine where if he wanted to change pitches, he would gesture to his mask for the signal. Just prior to Worrell throwing a passed ball (which allowed two Royals runners to move to scoring position in the 9th inning in Game 6), Porter reached into his mask to push his glasses back (as opposed to simply touching the side of the mask). As a result, Worrell thought that Porter wanted to him to pitch a slider as opposed to a fastball.
- The 1985 Kansas City Royals were the sixth and (as of 2012) the last team to come back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to win the World Series; the others were the 1903 Boston Americans, 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1958 New York Yankees, 1968 Detroit Tigers and 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. Amazingly, the 1985 Royals also came back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to win the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Game 7 at Royals Stadium marked the last time to date that the designated hitter was not used at an American League ballpark.
 Quote(s) of the Series
- Is the baby still there? - Bret Saberhagen (see above)
- Little squibber to the right side, Worrell racing to cover and the throw doesn't get him! - ABC Sports announcer Al Michaels calling Don Denkinger's infamous call in Game 6
- Looks like he's out! - ABC Sports color commentator Jim Palmer pointing out Don Denkinger's mistake.
- And there's a blooper to right field for a base hit! Concepcion scores! Here comes Sundberg! Here comes the throw... he scores!!! We go to a seventh!!! - Al Michaels
- That's Whitey Herzog screaming at Don Denkinger! - ABC Sports color commentator Tim McCarver talking about the Cardinal manager's frustrations with the home plate umpire in Game 7.
- Eleven to nothing. The one-oh pitch...fly ball, Motley going back to the track...no outs to go! The Royals have won the 1985 World Series. And they converge on the mound in celebration! - Denny Matthews
- To (Darryl) Motley...for the title! The Kansas City Royals are the 1985 World Champions. - Al Michaels
 Further Reading
- Doug Feldmann: Fleeter Than Birds: The 1985 St. Louis Cardinals and Small Ball's Last Hurrah, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2002.
- Bill James: "A History of Being a Kansas City Baseball Fan", in The 1986 Baseball Abstract, Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 1986, pp. 39-68.
- David S. Neft and Richard M. Cohen: The World Series, 1st ed., St Martins Press, New York' NY, 1990, pp. 407-411.
- 1985 World Series at WorldSeries.com (MLB.com)
- 1985 World Series by Baseball Almanac
- History of the World Series - 1985 at SportingNews.com
- K.C. Had A Blast at SI.com
- 1985 World Series box scores and play-by-play at Retrosheet.org
- 1985 Kansas City Royals at baseballlibrary.com
- 1985 St. Louis Cardinals at baseballlibrary.com
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series