On July 3rd, 1985, the Kansas City Royals defeated the Oakland A's 3-0 to improve to 39-36 on the season and stay withing 3 1/2 games of first place in the American League West. Bret Saberhagen scattered five hits over eight innings, walking no one and striking out four. Dan Quisenberry pitched the ninth to notch his 15th save on the year.
The lineup that day was:
Willie Wilson CF (homered)
Lonnie Smith LF
George Brett 3B
Jorge Orta DH
Jim Sundberg C
Steve Balboni 1B
Daryl Motley RF (there was a brief two year period where Motley was my favorite Royal)
Greg Pryor 2B (Frank White had the day off, but came in for defense late)
Buddy Biancalana SS
George Brett doubled twice - he was pretty good, by the way - and Dave Kingman was Oakland's designated hitter.
Brett and Wilson are no-brainers, but if you put this lineup side by side with what Ned Yost normally trots out, would you trade anyone above for who will take the field for Kansas City this evening? And before you point out that all these guys are over 50 now, assume time travel is allowed. Frank White was the regular second baseman back then, so there is a third guy you would not trade, but Hal McRae hit just .259/.349/.450 that season, so that may be it.
Of course, Brett (especially, duh), Wilson and White can make up for a lot of 'not-very-good' in a lineup and Balboni did hit 36 home runs - albeit with a .307 on-base percentage. That was a fun year, I would like to have another one like that.
The Royals face a reclamation project tonight in Scott Kazmir. In his last start, Kazmir held Baltimore to one hit over seven innings and in the start before that allowed just one run and five hits in seven innings against Minnesota. Kazmir has not been consistently good this season, but has a sprinkling of other good outings on his 2013 resume as well.
Things came pretty easily to Scott early in his career, so I give him credit for having the fortitude to battle back from injury and just plain awfulness to get back to at least a marginal back of the rotation guy. He went so far as to log 14 starts last season for Sugar Land in Independent ball. That's the love of the game, baby.
I will be shooting off fireworks and otherwise distracted, so Retro has recap duties tonight. If Kazmir goes seven strong against our boys in blue, it is his fault.