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Baseball Memories From The Kansas City Royals In The 1980's

For a team that is finally starting to find their winning identity again, we look back at some of the special moments of the Kansas City Royals franchise during the 1980's, when the club was known for their excellence on the field.

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Saturday evening I watched one of those countdown programs on MLB Network that they often show, I believe this one was titled "MLB Network Countdown - Most Memorable Moments of the 1980's". I obviously knew the George Brett Pine Tar incident would make the cut, as well as Don Denkinger's safe call of Jorge Orta at first base during the 1985 World Series.

So as I sat and watched, I saw many of the same moments you see replayed through the years and was also reminded of some things I had forgotten, like Tom Seaver earning his 300th win and Rod Carew collecting his 3,000th hit each on the same day.

But alas, Kansas City finally cracked the Top 50 most memorable moments at #27, "Brett Gets Goose". The setting was Game 3 of the 1980 American League Championship Series with George Brett up to bat against New York Yankees reliever Goose Gossage, in a battle of eventual Hall of Fame players. Brett would launch an upper deck home run to right field that Gossage said was the loudest crack of the bat he has ever heard, and the sound literally made him flinch. I rewound the play roughly five or six times just to watch the home run over and over.

Moving on the #19, "Bo Jackson Says Hello", took place during the 1989 All-Star Game in Anaheim. Jackson, who received the most All-Star votes, was facing San Francisco Giants pitcher Rick Reuschel in the bottom of the first inning. Jackson hit a 448-foot home run to center that cause legendary Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully to say "Look at that one! Bo Jackson says hello!"

Long-time pitcher Rick Sutcliffe said "I'll never forget the sound", while Tommy Lasorda said afterwards, "I'll swear I thought he hit a golf ball". Thanks to youtube, you can check out the video of the home run here.

#15 was a sour note for the Royals, as it was "Phinally!", which took place at Game 6 of the 1980 World Series, when Phillies reliever Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson to give Philadelphia the title, and deny the Royals of their first World Series championship.

"Pine Tar" is all you have to say about #6 and you already know the story. On July 24, 1983 George Brett hit another home run at Yankee Stadium that caused Yankees manager Billy Martin to run of the dugout and protest to the home plate umpire that Brett had too much pine tar on his bat. As the story goes, the game was upheld and the Royals eventually finished the 9th inning at a later time.

Reflecting on the game, Brett was quoted as saying, "I'm sitting there and I said if they call me out for too much pine tar, I'll run out there and kill one of those SOB's".

Kansas City last makes the list at #5, "Denkinger Says Safe" during Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Again, no real explanation is needed, but I did come across a great gem on youtube, which is Denny Matthews and Fred White with the radio call from the game. You can listen here.

Greg Schaum, of Pine Tar Press, brought up a great point on twitter when I shared the link with him. After the game, on the radio broadcast, White said "This is an improbable little team, doing improbable little things, and now has pushed this thing to the brink".

In addition, I also found the radio call, of the top of the 9th inning from Game 7 of the 1985 World Series when the Royals clinched their first and only title with Bret Saberhagen on the mound, and Darryl Motley catching Andy Van Slyke's flyball to right field for the title.