Remembering the Wild Ending to the 1985 World Series
On Sunday night October 27, 1985 the Kansas City Royals crushed the St. Louis Cardinals 11-0 to win their first World Series. And they did it in an ugly fashion thrashing a Cardinals team that pretty much lost their focus because umpire Don Denkinger blew a call in game six the night before.
As a Royals fan I loved every moment of game seven. I've never been much of a Cardinals fan but I've been a Royals fan longer than I've been a Cubs fan. And this was only the second time a team I really was a fan of had made the series. This game had everything a teenager like myself would want to see.
Lot's of scoring from the Royals. And lot's of hot tempers on the Cardinals. Cardinal pitcher John Tudor didn't have it. He walked four. Gave up five runs. And only pitched two and a third innings. He'd cut his hand on fan in the dugout frustrated with his performance.
The bottom of the fifth inning was magical when the Royals broke the game open scoring six runs, five with two out. Even Joaquín Andújar couldn't stop the Royals. And he and Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog just provided more fun fodder for me as a young fan. Andújar by charging Denkinger who was working home plate that night because he didn't like the calls Denkinger was making, and Herzog for arguing with Denkinger trying to protect his pitcher. It didn't work very well.
According to Wikipedia, the exchange that Denkinger and Herzog had is as follows:
Herzog, who had been berating Denkinger for most of the game, rushed from the dugout to defend Andújar, and was ejected—reportedly after saying to Denkinger, "We wouldn't even be here if you hadn't missed the fu**ing call last night!" According to Denkinger, he replied "Well if you guys weren't hitting .120 in this World Series, we wouldn't be here."
The Cardinals didn't really lose the Series on Sunday Night October 27. They lost it the night before when they couldn't recover from Denkinger's blown call. They lost it because they didn't have enough in the tank for game seven. They lost it because they were still obsessed with Denkinger's bad cal the night before. They lost because no one got the champagne and plastic curtains out of their locker room after the Royals won game six. And honestly, Denkinger was right. If the Cardinals had more offense would the Royals have even made it to game seven?
I believe success in a lot of ways is how you can move on from setbacks, failures and letting go of the things you can't control. In 1985 umpires blowing calls were part of the game. If the Cardinals could have moved on from that maybe game seven would have had a different outcome. Or at least been more of a fair fight.
According to Wikipedia Whitey Herzog, in his book "You're Missing A Great Game", said he should have asked commissioner Peter Ueberroth to over turn the call Denkinger made. And if he wouldn't, then pull the Cardinals off the field and forfeit the game. It certainly would have pushed the issue. If it would have allowed the Cardinals to move on from the controversy he probably should have done it. Yet, it also could have added more gasoline to the bad feelings the Cardinals harbored going into game seven.
That series is still one of my favorite all time World Series. Of course, so is the 2015 series the Royals won. Even 2014 wasn't bad. The Royals, unlike the Cardinals in 1985, showed up to play. They just fell a little short. Here's hoping that with new ownership, and hopefully putting the coronavirus to bed over the next several months, that the 2021 season will be just as magical for as 1985 and 2015 were.