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1985 World Series
1985 World Series Logo
Team / Wins Manager Season
Kansas City Royals (4) Dick Howser 91-71, .562, GA: 1
St. Louis Cardinals (3) Whitey Herzog 101-61, .623, GA: 3
Dates: October 19 – October 27
MVP: Bret Saberhagen (Kansas City)
Television: ABC
TV announcers: Al Michaels, Tim McCarver, Jim Palmer
Radio network: CBS
Radio announcers: Jack Buck, Sparky Anderson
Umpires: Umpires: Don Denkinger (AL), Billy Williams (NL), Jim McKean (AL), Bob Engel (NL), John Shulock (AL), Jim Quick (NL)
Future Hall of Famers: Royals: George Brett.
Cardinals: Ozzie Smith.
ALCS: Kansas City Royals over Toronto Blue Jays (4-3)
NLCS: St. Louis Cardinals over Los Angeles Dodgers (4-2)
World Series
 < 1984 1986 > 

The 1985 World Series began on October 19, 1985 and ended October 27. The American League champion Kansas City Royals played against the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals, winning the series 4 games to 3. The Series was popularly known as the "Show-Me Series", or the "I-70 Showdown Series," as both cities are in Missouri, separated by the connecting Interstate 70.

The Cardinals won the National League East division by three games over the New York Mets, then defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, four games to two, in the National League Championship Series. The Royals won the American League West division by one game over the California Angels then defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, four games to three, in the American League Championship Series.

The Cardinals were seeking to win their NL-leading tenth World Series Title, while the Royals were seeking to become the first AL expansion team to win the World Series.

This was the first World Series in which all games were played at night. This was also the first World Series that featured commentator Tim McCarver, who called the World Series with Al Michaels and Jim Palmer for ABC. Howard Cosell was originally supposed to be in the booth, but he was removed from his assignment just prior to Game 1 because of the controversy surrounding his book I Never Played the Game.

This World Series was also the last time to date that the DH was not used at an American League ballpark.


In the 1985 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, an umpire's mistaken calls greatly influenced the outcome of game 6. In the 4th inning of the scoreless game, Kansas City Royals Frank White seemed to have stolen second base but was called out by the umpire. Replays later showed that White had beaten the tag, and the following batter, Pat Sheridan, hit a single into the outfield. White more than likely would have given the Royals a 1–0 lead had he remained on 2B.

Jorge Orta's Royals were trailing 3 games to 2 in the Series and 1–0 on the scoreboard when he led off the bottom of the ninth with a ground ball to Cardinal first baseman Jack Clark, who flipped the ball to Cardinal pitcher Todd Worrell covering first. First base umpire Don Denkinger called Orta safe, but television replays later showed that Worrell had beaten him to the base. Steve Balboni followed with a single to left, moving Orta to 2B. Jim Sundberg's sacrifice bunt, instead of moving up the runners, ended up in a force out at third. With Hal McRae batting next, Cardinals' catcher Darrell Porter, who had played four seasons with the Royals, allowed a passed ball, and both Kansas City runners moved up. McRae was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dane Iorg would then pinch hit for Dan Quisenberry, and his single to right field drove in two runs giving Kansas City a 2–1 win.

The outcome shifted momentum to the Royals, and in game seven of the Series the next night, Kansas City's Bret Saberhagen pitched an 11-0 shutout.

It was the second Missouri-only World Series: the first was the 1944 World Series between two St. Louis teams, the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the St. Louis Browns (a team that later moved and is now the Baltimore Orioles).

Although the Royals lost the first two games at home, they overcame their poor start and became World Series champions for the first time thanks to MVP Bret Saberhagen's victories in Games 3 and 7.

AL Kansas City Royals (4) vs NL St. Louis Cardinals (3)

Game Score Date Location Attendance
1 St. Louis Cardinals - 3, Kansas City Royals - 1 October 19 Royals Stadium 41,650[1]
2 St. Louis Cardinals - 4, Kansas City Royals - 2 October 20 Royals Stadium 41,656[2]
3 Kansas City Royals - 6, St. Louis Cardinals - 1 October 22 Busch Stadium II 53,634[3]
4 Kansas City Royals - 0, St. Louis Cardinals - 3 October 23 Busch Stadium II 53,634[4]
5 Kansas City Royals - 6, St. Louis Cardinals - 1 October 24 Busch Stadium II 53,634[5]
6 St. Louis Cardinals - 1, Kansas City Royals - 2 October 26 Royals Stadium 41,628[6]
7 St. Louis Cardinals - 0, Kansas City Royals - 11 October 27 Royals Stadium 41,658[7]


Game 1[]

Saturday, October 19, 1985 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 7 1
Kansas City 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 0

WP: John Tudor (1-0)  LP: Danny Jackson (0-1)  SV: Todd Worrell (1)  

Game 2[]

Sunday, October 20, 1985 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 6 0
Kansas City 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 9 0

WP: Ken Dayley (1-0)  LP: Charlie Leibrandt (0-1)  SV: Jeff Lahti (1)  

Charlie Leibrandt continued a history of tough luck in the post-season. The previous year, he had lost game three of the 1984 ALCS, 1-0, when he pitched a three-hit complete game. He lost game four in the 1985 ALCS in the ninth inning. And clinging to a two-run lead in the ninth, manager Dick Howser opted to not send in his relief ace Dan Quisenberry to close out the game. Leibrandt faltered, and only one out from tying the series at one apiece, Leibrandt yielded a bases loaded double to Terry Pendleton that scored three runs and gave the Cardinals a 4-2 win at Royals Stadium.

Game 3[]

Tuesday, October 22, 1985 at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 0 0 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 6 11 0
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 6 0

WP: Bret Saberhagen (1-0)  LP: Joaquín Andújar (0-1)  
HRs:  KCR – Frank White (1)

The Royals got back into the series by riding ace Bret Saberhagen to a 6-1 victory against twenty-game winner Joaquín Andújar. Saberhagen flashed messages on the television screen to his pregnant wife who was due to give birth any day. She eventually gave birth on October 26.

Royals second baseman Frank White made history by becoming the first second baseman in the history of the World Series to hit in the clean-up spot in the batting order. White came through with a home run off of Andujar.

Game 4[]

Wednesday, October 23, 1985 at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
St. Louis 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 X 3 6 0

WP: John Tudor (2-0)  LP: Bud Black (0-1)  
HRs:  STL – Willie McGee (1), Tito Landrum (1)

John Tudor's complete game shutout put the Cardinals on the verge of winning their second World Series in four years, 3-0. Tito Landrum, only playing due to an injury to Vince Coleman, continued to make his case for MVP with a home run.

Game 5[]

Thursday, October 24, 1985 at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 6 11 2
St. Louis 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 1

WP: Danny Jackson (1-1)  LP: Bob Forsch (0-1)  

Entering this game, the Royals were three for three in must-win games in the postseason. They ended this one four for four with a victory over the Cardinals, again by the score of 6-1. Danny Jackson was the winning pitcher, following the same formula and pitching rotation as the Royals did in the ALCS where Jackson also won Game 5.

Game 6[]

Saturday, October 26, 1985 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 0
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 10 0

WP: Dan Quisenberry (1-0)  LP: Todd Worrell (0-1)  

A pitcher's duel unfolded between Danny Cox and Charlie Leibrandt, the tough-luck loser in Game Two. They traded goose eggs until the eighth, when Brian Harper singled home Terry Pendleton to give the Cardinals the lead and inside track for the title. But the bottom of the ninth featured controversy and a collapse by the Cardinals.

Whitey Herzog called on rookie reliever Todd Worrell to pitch the ninth. The first batter, Jorge Orta, sent a routine bouncer to Jack Clark. He tossed to Worrell and got Orta for what appeared to be the first out, but umpire Don Denkinger called Orta safe. Every replay angle indicated that Orta was out by at least half a step. Instead of one out, the Royals now had one on and slugger Steve Balboni at the plate. Balboni lifted a routine pop-up in foul territory along the first base dugout. Darrell Porter claimed he had it and then didn't, and the ball fell harmlessly behind Jack Clark. Given a reprieve, Balboni singled, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. Sent to bunt the runners over, Jim Sundberg's bunt was fielded perfectly by Worrell, and he threw out Orta at third.

But the rally stopper was undone when Porter's passed ball allowed the runners to move up and forced Herzog to walk Royals pinch-hitter Hal McRae. With the bases loaded and one out, pinch-hitter Dane Iorg looped a single to right field. Pinch runner Onix Concepcion scored the tying run and Sundberg approached the plate with the winning run. Andy Van Slyke's throw was on the money, but Porter made a short attempt to tag Sundberg, who slid home safely with the game-winning run.

After the game, Iorg got his nose broken when his teammates, led by 230 pound (104 kg) pitcher Mike Jones, mobbed him after his game-winning hit.

The Cardinals fumed afterward, blaming Denkinger for the call and the loss. Denkinger was also scheduled to be the home plate umpire in Game 7. See also:

Game 7[]

Sunday, October 27, 1985 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Kansas City 0 2 3 0 6 0 0 0 X 11 14 0

WP: Bret Saberhagen (2-0)  LP: John Tudor (2-1)  
HRs:  KCR – Darryl Motley (1)

One night after becoming a father, Bret Saberhagen tossed a five-hitter and the Royals became the only team to ever come from a three games to one deficit twice in the same postseason to win the World Series. They also were the first team to lose the first two games at home and rally to win the Series. Saberhagen got all the offense he needed when Darryl Motley homered to left off John Tudor in the 2nd inning. Tudor left the game trailing 5-0 in the third, and hit a power fan that resulted in a cut fingertip.

In the long fifth inning, the Cardinals came completely unglued. A succession of five Cardinal pitchers allowed 6 Royals runs. Jeff Lahti bore the brunt of this rally, allowing 4 runs to score before being relieved by Ricky Horton. Horton fared no better, lasting one batter before Herzog replaced him with the volatile Joaquín Andújar, normally a starter but pressed into relief. Andújar allowed an RBI single to Frank White to increase the Royals lead to 10-0 before things became truly nasty. With Jim Sundberg at the plate, Andújar twice charged home plate umpire Denkinger to disagree with his strike zone. First, Denkinger called an Andújar pitch a ball, even though replays seemed to indicate it was a strike. Whitey Herzog emerged 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 fucking call last night!" [1] The next pitch was also called a ball, and Denkinger ejected Andújar after misreading a gesture to Tom Nieto. Andújar again lost his cool and charged at Denkinger, and it took three teammates to restrain him and get him off the field. Andújar was suspended for the first ten games of the 1986 season for his outburst. Although it has been rumored that Herzog sent in Andújar specifically to bait Denkinger, Herzog himself has said several times Andújar was the only pitcher who still had anything left in his arm.

The Royals became the first team ever to win the World Series after dropping Games 1 and 2 at home. The Royals also were the sixth and (to date) the last team to come back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to win the World Series, the others being the 1903 Boston Red Sox, 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1958 New York Yankees, 1968 Detroit Tigers and 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. Amazingly, the '85 Royals also came back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to win the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Cardinals .185 batting average was the lowest for a seven-game World Series until the New York Yankees hit .183 in the 2001 World Series. The Cardinals also scored only 13 total runs - an all-time low for a seven game series - scoring only once in the final 26 innings of the series. If they had held on for the win in Game 6, they still would have been outscored in the series 15-13.

Composite Box[]


The Commissioner's Trophy at Kauffman Stadium.

1985 World Series (4-3): Kansas City Royals (A.L.) over St. Louis Cardinals (N.L.)

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City Royals 1 6 3 4 8 0 2 1 3 28 68 3
St. Louis Cardinals 1 1 2 1 1 1 0 1 5 13 40 2
Total Attendance: 327,494   Average Attendance: 46,785
Winning Player’s Share: – $76,342   Losing Player’s Share – $54,922[8]

Quote(s) of the Series[]

Is the baby still there?

Bret Saberhagen (see above)

Little squibber to the right side, Worrell racing to cover and the throw doesn't get him

ABC Sports announcer Al Michaels calling Don Denkinger's infamous call in Game 6

Looks like he's out!

ABC Sports color commentator Jim Palmer pointing out Don Denkinger's mistake.

And there's a blooper to right field for a base hit! Concepcion scores! Here comes Sundberg! Here comes the throw...he scores!!! We go to a seventh!!!

Al Michaels

The pitch to Iorg. There's a looping fly ball...base hit! Here's Van Slyke's throw to the plate. He and the game is over!"

Denny Matthews calling Dane Iorg's game-winning single scoring Onix Concepcion and Jim Sundberg in Game 6

That's Whitey Herzog screaming at Don Denkinger!

ABC Sports color commentator Tim McCarver talking about the Cardinal manager's frustrations with the home plate umpire in Game 7.

To (Darryl) Motley...for the title! The Kansas City Royals are the 1985 World Champions.

Al Michaels

Eleven to nothing. The one-oh ball, Motley going back to the outs to go! The Royals have won the 1985 World Series. And they converge on the mound in celebration!

Denny Matthews



  • Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series. 1st ed. New York: St Martins, 1990. (Neft and Cohen 407-411)
  • Forman, Sean L.. 1985 World Series. - Major League Statistics and Information.. Retrieved on 2007-12-09.

External links[]