The Royals are celebrating their 50th season. The following is a Top 50 list of the greatest moments in Royals history. Starting with 50-46.
50. Eric Hosmer hits game-winning home run in Game 2 of the 2014 American League Division Series.
The Royals were in extra innings for the third straight game to start the 2014 postseason. After having won the previous two, the Royals were trying to take control of the ALDS by winning the first two games in Los Angeles against the heavily-favored Angels. A win would mean the Royals would have two shots to win one game at home and finish the series. A loss would mean they’d have to win both games and a return trip to Los Angeles would be likely.
Hosmer jumped on the first pitch, a 95-mph fastball, and hit it over the wall in right to give the Royals a 3-1 lead.
The Royals would add-on another run and Greg Holland would close things out to give the Royals a 4-1 victory and a commanding two game lead in the ALDS heading back to Kansas City.
49. Johnny Damon collects 200th Hit of 2000 season on a grand slam.
Johnny Damon was the local kid who was going to help take the Royals back to Baseball Nirvana. A great lead-off hitter who could get on base and was an excellent baserunner.
In 2000, Damon had his best season with the Royals. He led the American League in runs scored (136) and stolen bases (46). However, his best moment that season came in Arlington, Texas against the Texas Rangers. Damon entered the game with 197 hits. After getting two hits off Rangers starter, Darren Oliver, he stepped to the plate in the top of the sixth with the Royals trailing 9-4 and the bases loaded and one out facing Rangers reliever, Jeff Zimmerman.
Damon turned on the first pitch Zimmerman threw and hit it just inside the foul pole for a grand slam, trimming the Rangers lead to 9-8 and giving Damon 200 hits on the season. Damon would become the fifth player in Royals history to collect 200 hits in a season, joining George Brett (1976, 1979), Willie Wilson (1980), and Kevin Seitzer (1987).
48. Eric Hosmer wins the 2016 All-Star Game MVP
Eric Hosmer was having a career year in 2016, hitting .299 with 13 home runs and 49 runs batted in. The leader of the defending World Series Champions was elected to start his first All-Star Game in San Diego.
With the American League down 1-0 in the bottom of the second and facing off against former Royal, Johnny Cueto, Hosmer drove a 90-mph two-seamer over the wall in left to tie the game at one. Hosmer’s home run was the first home run by a Royals’ player in the All-Star Game since Bo Jackson in 1989.
Hosmer would come up again in the bottom of the third facing the late Jose Fernandez and laced a RBI single past Kris Bryant to give the American League a 4-1 lead. Hosmer would finish the game 2-for-3 with two runs batted in and end up winning the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award in the 2016 All-Star Game.
47. Kansas City Royals win 1984 American League Western Division
The 1984 Kansas City Royals are often a forgotten team in large part because they were swept in the American League Championship Series by the eventual World Series Champion, Detroit Tigers. However, the 1984 Royals were the team that laid the foundation for the run to a World Series title in 1985.
After a 2-1 loss and dropping three of four to the Cleveland Indians, the Royals record fell to 40-51 and they were eight games behind the California Angels for first place in the American League Western Division. The Royals would have to get hot to win the division the five teams ahead of them would have to go cold.
The next day, the Royals won 6-3 over the Baltimore Orioles and would win seven of their next eight. Behind the pitching of Bud Black and Charlie Liebrandt, as well as the late season contributions from rookie Bret Saberhagen and a dominant bullpen anchored by closer Dan Quisenberry, the Royals would win the American League Western Division by three games over the Minnesota Twins and the Angels.
After the loss on July 18th to the Indians, the Royals would finish an American League best 44-27. Though they were swept by the Tigers in the American League Championship Series, the 1984 Royals would take experience gained from their young pitching stars like Saberhagen, Mark Gubicza, and Danny Jackson, into 1985.
46. Alex Gordon leads Royals to Game 1 victory of Baltimore Orioles.
The Royals had come into the 2014 American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles, as Rex Hudler would put it, “lava hot”. They had the exciting come-from-behind win in the American League Wild Card Game against the Oakland A’s. Then they swept the top-seeded Los Angeles Angels in the American League Division Series. Now, they were beginning their run for the team’s third American League Pennant.
Alex Gordon, one of the longest-tenured Royals, would play a huge part in setting the tone for the series. In the top of the third, after Alcides Escobar gave the Royals a 1-0 lead, Gordon stepped to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. On a 3-2 pitch, Gordon sawed his bat in half on a 93-mph two-seam fastball with the ball falling just inside the foul line, clearing the bases and giving the Royals a 4-0 lead.
Gordon wasn’t done. In the bottom of the inning, Gordon made a diving catch in left-center to put an end to the inning and preserving a 4-1 lead. Gordon experienced a scary moment in the top of the eighth when he was hit in the neck with a pitch. However, he would show the toughness that he had shown all season and stay in.
In the tenth, Gordon would step to the plate with the game tied at five looking to do what he had done all season, come up big. On a 1-1 pitch, Gordon took a Darren O’Day fastball over the wall in right to give the Royals a 6-5 lead. The Royals would add two more and take Game 1, 8-6.
Gordon’s final line, 3-for-4, a home run, double, four runs batted in, and Gold Glove defense. He would set the tone for the rest of the series and help lead the Royals to their third American League Pennant and first since 1985.
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