1985 World Series – Cardinals and Royals


By Ron Griffitts - Contributing Columnist



In 1985 one of the most memorable World Series in baseball history took place between the St. Louis Cardinals 101-61 and the cross state Kansas City Royals 91-71.

The Cards were managed by Whitey Herzog who emphasized speed, defense and pitching and had VinceColeman 110SB/107RS and NL MVP Willie McGee .353BA/56SB/216H//114RS, Tommy Herr .302BA/110RBI and power in Jack Clark with 22 home runs and 87 RBI’s.

The pitching staff was anchored by John Tudor 21-8/1.93ERA, Joaquin Andujar 21-12 and Danny Cox 18-9/2.88ERA with Jeff Lahti 1.84ERA/19SV, Ricky Horton 2.91ERA, Ken Dayley 2.76ERA/11SV and hard throwing rookie Todd Worrell 2.91ERA.

The Royals were managed by former player Dick Howser and led by perennialall-starGeorge Brett .335BA/30HR/112RBI/108RS, Steve Balboni 36HR/88RBI, Lonnie Smith 40SB, and Willie Wilson 43SB.

Their pitching staff featured 21 year-old AL Cy Young Award winner Bret Saberhagen 20-6/2.87ERA and Charlie Liebrandt 17-9/2.69ERA with Dan Quisenberry in the bullpen 2.37ERA and 37 saves.

The series opened at Royals Stadium in Kansas City with Tudorfacing Danny Jackson in a battle of lefthanders. In a close game a Cesar Cedeno RBI double in the fourth inningproved to be the winning run with an RBI double by Jack Clark in the ninth adding an insurance run. Todd Worrell was in for the two inning save and the Cards win 3-1 and go up 1-0.

Game two was also close as the Royals behind lefthander Charlie Liebrandt went into the ninth inning leading 2-0 with Liebrandt having allowed only two hits.

After Willie McGee opened the top of the ninth with a double Liebrandt got Ozzie smith to ground out and Tommy Herr on a fly out and was only one out away from victory.

But Jack Clark singled in McGee and the Cards loaded the bases after which a Terry Pendleton double drove in three runs for a 4-2 lead which Jeff Lahti held in the bottom of the inning and the Cards are up 2-0 as the series moves to St. Louis.

Game three was all Kansas City as Saberhagen was in control and pitched a 6 hit complete game 6-1 victory to pull the Royals to 2-1 in the series. Frank White added a home run for Kansas City.

The following day the Cards responded with a complete game of their own, as lefthander John Tudor scattered five hits in a 3-0 shutout for his second win of the series helped by home runs by Tito Landram and Willie McGee and the Cards need only one more win to win the series.

In game five the Royals again responded with a complete game, this time by lefthander Danny Jackson, and pulled to 3 games to 2 with a 6-1 win and the series switches back to Kansas City for the sixth game-one of the most famous in WS history.

In a pitching duel between Danny Cox and Charlie Liebrandt the game was scoreless after seven innings when in the eighth the Cards got to Liebrandt. With two outs Brian Harper singled in Terry Pendleton and the Cards lead 1-0 with six outs to go for the WS title.

Lefthander Ken Dayley was in to pitch a scoreless bottom of the eighth and the Cards did not score in the top of the ninth and so the game went to the bottom of the ninth with only three outs for a Cards victory and WS triumph.

Whitey Herzog brought in Todd Worrell, although a rookie he was one of thehardest throwers in baseball, to pitch the ninth. The first batter Jorge Orta hit a grounder on the left side of the first base bag which Jack Clark fielded and threw to Worrell covering first base.

But in the processof both Worrell and Orta going to the bag first base umpire Don Denkinger could not clearly see the ball and called Orta safe even though to everyone else he appeared out.

And as he listened for the sound of the ball going into the mit because the throw from Clark to Worrell was a soft one, he did not hear it.

Herzog was out to argue the call and as Denkinger was the chief umpire there was no one to appeal the call to.

The episode seemed to unnerve the Cards as first baseman Jack Clark and catcher Darrell Porter did not communicate on a foul popup which fell in front of the dugout from the next hitter Steve Balboni who then singled and the Royals had two on and no outs.

The Cards got an out on a force to third and then on a passed ball the baserunners went to second and third and pinch hitter Dane Iorg made Royal history by singling in the two baserunners and the Royals win 2-1 and force a seventh game.

The Cards were unnerved from the previous day’s events and the Royals took advantage with a one-sided 11-0 victory behind Saberhagen with Darryl Motley adding a home run and the Royals get their first World Series title with Saberhagen getting the MVP.

But many fans watching the series felt St. Louis should have won.

Denkinger did not admit he made the wrong call until reviewing the play after the game with baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Herzog in a book he later wrote said if he had it to do over again he would have appealed it to Ueberroth who was in the stands the day of the game.

Saberhagen got the MVP and the Cards and Herzog would be back in 1987 against the Twins and the Royals returned 29 years later in 2014.

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By Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate