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The Royals Perfect Game

Turning back the clock to the glory days and the best game in Royal history to get you ready for 2013.

The ball looked like a softball to #5 in 1985.
The ball looked like a softball to #5 in 1985.

MLB 2K13 proudly announces the return of the Perfect Game Challenge. Pitch a perfect game for your favorite team and you could win some serious money, including a top prize of $250,000. Go to for details.

For this promotion, we are tasked with writing about the "perfect" game in franchise history. To me, it's an easy choice:

Leading up to Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, the Royals found themselves in the worst position possible. After dropping the first game 6-1, the Royals lost a heartbreaker in Game Two. They squandered an early 3-0 lead and the Jays took the lead in the bottom of the eighth. The Royals rallied to tie the game in the ninth on a Pat Sheridan home run. Then, in extras, the Royals plated a run in the tenth when Frank White singled home Willie Wilson - who had three hits in the game. Dan Quisenberry, working his third inning that night, couldn't close out the game. Two singles, an error and the final dagger - a single by Al Oliver - crushed the Royals hopes they could even the series before it shifted back to Kansas City.

It was a dire situation. Down to the Blue Jays, 2-0 in the first year of the best of seven series, Royals manager Dick Howser had managed 11 post season games and lost all 11.

The stage was set for the George Brett Show.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Willie Wilson lined a single to center. Wilson swiped 43 bags in 54 attempts in '85, and was clearly on the mind of Alexander. With Brett at the plate, he threw over to first a couple of times. Wilson broke on a 1-0 count, Alexander delivered a change and Ernie Whitt threw out the speedy Wilson. It was a good throw by Whitt, short-hopping in front of the bag and replays confirmed Wilson slid in under the tag. Wilson protested and Howser came out to register his complaint as well. Another bad break for the Royals.

The ALCS was broadcast by NBC and the team of Bob Costas and Tony Kubek. Forget about Costas in the 21st century. In the 1980's he was a premier baseball broadcaster. He and Kubek had an outstanding chemistry. As Howser trotted back to the dugout, he paused and asked the home plate umpire to look at the baseball.

Costas: Has Alexander often been accused of doctoring them up?
Kubek: Well, his fastball does about three different things.

Alexander's next pitch was a change, low and on the inner half of the plate. Brett yanked it down the right field line and put it into the old general admission seats.

1-0 Royals

Costas: You can't pitch around him forever.

In the third, the Blue Jays threatened. With one out, Damaso Garcia doubled down the left field line. Lonnie Smith, robably one of the worst defensive outfielders of the 1980's - if your nickname is "Skates" you're probably doing something wrong - misplayed the ball and allowed Garcia to advance to third.

Costas: Lonnie Smith aware of the fact the outfield at the stadium plays like a pinball machine. Purposefully played it safe, practically let it roll to a stop and still kicked it.

All Smith did was set up the greatest defensive play in Royals history.

Playing even with the bag and a few steps off the line, Brett fields a smash by Lloyd Moseby, is carried behind the bag by his momentum, contorts and throws a perfect strike home to Jim Sundberg to nail Garcia by a step.

Kubek: Who said he can't play defense?

Leading off the fourth, Brett went down to get a slider on an 0-1 count and launched it to right. Just to the right of the 385 sign, the ball hit the wall at the top of the pad, missing a home run by about a foot and a half. Brett cruised into second with a double. Hal McRae moved him to third on a fly ball to right and White brought him home with a sacrifice fly.

2-0 Royals

The next half inning, it all fell apart. Saberhagen couldn't hit his location and the Jays started hammering the Royals starter. Single, home run, flyout, double, single, home run and the Royals 2-0 lead turned into a 5-2 deficit. Sundberg pulled one back with a solo home run in the bottom of the frame.

5-3 Blue Jays

With the Royals running short on chances, Wilson led off the sixth with another single. Rooted at first, the Jays and Alexander couldn't pitch around Brett. With the count even 1-1, Alexander delivered a high fastball and Brett hammered it over the wall in left-center. Of course he did.

Costas: George Brett certainly has no superior and probably has no equal as a showcase player in all of baseball.


Steve Farr, who relieved Buddy Black after the Saberhagen meltdown, had allowed just two hits in just over three innings. And both those hits were erased in double plays. On the other side Dennis Lamp held the Royals in check for two innings of work. The game remained knotted into the bottom of the eighth.

Jim Clancy replaced Lamp as Brett prepared to lead off the frame for the Royals. On another 1-1 pitch, Clancy went low and away (and out of the strike zone) but Brett made contact and rolled the ball between second and first for a seeing-eye single.

Costas: He's in a slump. It's only a single.

Up next was McRae, who had been nursing a rib cage strain. The Royals DH didn't even disguise the fact he was bunting. He squared and laid down an exceptional bunt, catching the dirt in front of the plate before bouncing to the artificial turn. Clancy fielded the ball and his only play was at first. McRae had two sacrifice hits in 1985 during the regular season.

With Brett at second, White offered at the first pitch and hit a grounder to short. It was a slow enough chopper that Brett was able to advance to third. With two outs and first base open, the Jays decided to walk Sheridan to face Steve Balboni. Up to that point, Balboni had just 1 hit in 20 post season at bats covering the October's of both '84 and '85. He was 0-11 with four strikeouts so far in the series.

On a 2-0 pitch, Clancy delivered a fastball on the inner half that Balboni got in on his hands. He hit a shallow pop up that somehow landed in between the Jays shortstop, second baseman and center fielder. Each of the three was about a step away from the ball as it hit the turf. With two outs, Brett was off on contact and scored easily.

Royals 6-5

With Farr cruising and a struggling Quisenberry warm in the pen, Howser made the call to stick with Farr to close out the game. Fernandez and Garcia saw a total of three pitches and each grounded out to short.

With one out to go, and Moseby at the plate, Farr delivered a 2-2 fastball that the Jays left-handed hitter skied into foul territory on the third base side. Brett, of course, put the ball away and secured the victory for the Royals.

The greatest individual performance by a Royal in a game they had to win. For me, there were so many enduing images in this game. Brett leaping between first and second base when his game tying home run flew over the fence. Wilson's agony at being unjustly called out at second after attempting to steal. And Farr's steely resolve shutting down the Jays. However, the best image was Brett presenting Howser with the ball he caught for the final out of the game.

Costas: The all-time foregone conclusion, tonight's NBC Light Beer from Miller Player of the Game is George Brett.


*Apparently, even though MLB opened up their video vault, you still can't embed their videos from Baseball's Best Moments. Because that makes perfect sense. If you would like to see his two home runs, click here.

** At least I can embed the box score.

Lonnie Smith LF 4 0 1 0 0 1 .077 .154 -0.030 0.70 0.021 -0.051 -0.4 3 0
Lynn Jones LF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.00 0.000 0.000 0.0 0 0
Willie Wilson CF 4 1 2 0 0 0 .462 1.154 -0.009 1.01 0.083 -0.092 -0.1 0 0 CS
George Brett 3B 4 4 4 3 0 0 .583 1.865 0.482 1.35 0.482 0.000 3.6 1 1 2·HR,2B
Hal McRae DH 3 0 1 0 0 1 .375 .875 0.054 1.36 0.092 -0.038 0.1 2B,SH
Frank White 2B 3 0 0 1 0 0 .182 .413 -0.065 1.58 0.026 -0.091 -0.6 2 4 SF
Pat Sheridan RF 3 0 0 0 1 0 .143 .905 -0.067 1.62 0.036 -0.103 -0.3 0 0 IW
Steve Balboni 1B 4 0 1 1 0 1 .083 .167 0.147 2.03 0.259 -0.112 0.1 10 0
Jim Sundberg C 4 1 1 1 0 1 .182 .727 0.001 1.02 0.092 -0.091 0.0 8 1 HR
Buddy Biancalana SS 1 0 0 0 0 1 .200 .400 -0.021 0.80 0.000 -0.021 -0.2 1 2
Dane Iorg PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 .500 1.667 -0.022 0.88 0.000 -0.022 -0.2
Onix Concepcion SS 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 -0.029 1.16 0.000 -0.029 -0.2 2 4
Bret Saberhagen P 0 1
Buddy Black P 0 0
Steve Farr P 0 1
Team Totals 32 6 10 6 1 5 .312 .980 0.441 1.29 1.091 -0.650 1.9 27 14
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/31/2013.