The 1985 I-70 Series Revisited



1985_World_Series

Thirty years ago, the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals faced off in the 1985 World Series, in what would commonly be called the I-70 Series. The Cardinals fell short in 2014 of making a rematch a possibility, but the 2015 season is looking promising. Will there be a rematch this year? I guess we’ll find out.

For this Series Scenario, the 1985 World Series between the teams will be replayed. Will the Royals take the Series in seven games as they did in real life or will the Cardinals redeem themselves and show they were really the best team in baseball? Before we get started, though, let’s look back to how both teams got to the World Series in the first place.

The Kansas City Royals finished their season at 91-71, winning the AL West Division by one game over the California Angels. The Royals were actually a game behind the Angels in the final week of the season, but took three of four games from them to gain the one game lead they would not let go of. Kansas City would face the Toronto Blue Jays, who finished 99-62 to win the AL East, in the AL Championship Series. After four games, the Royals found themselves down three games to one. This part is intriguing, because 1985 was the year baseball expanded the league championship series from a best of five to a best of seven format. Otherwise, the Blue Jays would have gone to the Series. However, the Royals rallied and took the series in seven games.

As for the St. Louis Cardinals, they finished the season at 101-61, winning the NL East Division by three games over the New York Mets. The Cardinals would face off in the NL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who won the NL West with a record of 95-67. In the regular season, the Dodgers were 7-5 against the Cardinals. Early in the series, the Dodgers continued their winning ways, taking the first two games. But the Cardinals won the next four games to take the series and advance.

The Cardinals started strong in the World Series against the Royals, winning three of the first four games to take a 3-1 lead. The Royals, however, came back to win the next two games to tie the series up. Game 7 was a blowout, with the Royals winning 11-0.

 

The replay of this series will use the same starting lineups that Dick Howser and Whitey Herzog used in the 1985 series. Kansas City had home field advantage for the series, but no designated hitter was used, as baseball was still alternating the use of the DH in odd and even years, something that changed starting in 1986. The Game 1 starters were John Tudor for the Cardinals and Danny Jackson for the Royals. The Cardinals scored first in the game on a sacrifice fly in the top of the 2nd to take the early 1-0 lead. They would add to that lead in the top of the 4th. Right fielder Cesar Cedeno hit an RBI double to make it 2-0, followed by third baseman Terry Pendleton’s RBI single to make it 3-0. Third baseman George Brett would hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 6th inning to make it 3-1, but that’s the only time the Royals would score. St. Louis wins it 3-1, which is the same result as the real Game 1.

The Game 2 starters are Danny Cox for the Cardinals and Charlie Leibrandt for the Royals. Kansas City would send a message early in this one, posting five runs in the bottom of the 1st inning, highlighted by right fielder Pat Sheridan’s three run shot to right center, with first baseman Steve Balboni adding a solo homer to left center as an exclamation point. St. Louis would manage a run in the 4th, but Kansas City erupts for a four run 5th inning to take a 9-1 lead. The Cardinals finally get to Leibrandt in the top of the 7th to score three runs, but it isn’t enough. The Royals take Game 2 by the score of 9-4. In the real game, the Royals and Leibrandt had a 2-0 lead heading into the 9th inning. But the Cards got to Leibrandt in the 9th and won the game 4-2.

Game 3 would pit Bret Saberhagen of the Royals against Joaquin Andujar of the Cardinals. Neither starter would last long, as the simulation decided to introduce a 76 minute rain delay in the top of the 3rd inning with the game tied 2-2. Catcher Jim Sundberg would homer in the top of the 5th to give Kansas City the 3-2 lead. But in the bottom of the 6th, St. Louis came back, scoring four runs on a three RBI double by Terry Pendleton and an RBI single by Cesar Cedeno. The final score: Cardinals 6 Royals 3. In the real Game 3, Kansas City had no problems, winning 6-1 behind a complete game by Saberhagen.

So, with the Cardinals leading two games to one, in both the replay and the real series, Game 4 would bring us the pitching match-up of Bud Black for the Royals and John Tudor for the Cardinals. The game was a pitching duel, with the only run coming on a Tom Herr RBI single in the bottom of the 3rd inning. The Cardinals win 1-0 behind Tudor’s strong eight inning performance, striking out eight and allowing only two hits. Black pitched a complete game loss. The real Game 4 was also a shutout, with the Cardinals winning it 3-0. And with the win, the Cardinals go up three games to one, just like the real series. Will the replay repeat history or can the Cardinals win it?

Game 5 would see Danny Jackson on the mound for Kansas City and Bob Forsch on the hill for St. Louis. The Cardinals would score early, striking in the bottom of the 1st inning. Willie McGee leads off with a triple and scores on Tom Herr’s double. Tito Landrum would add an RBI single and St. Louis has an early 2-0 lead. An error by Cesar Cedeno would allow the Royals to score a run in the top of the 2nd to make it 2-1. Danny Jackson would implode in the 5th inning, however, allowing two runs to score by wild pitches. Coupled with a Cedeno RBI double, the Cardinals extend their lead to 5-1. Forsch would begin his collapse in the top of the 7th. Forsch issues four walks and gives up a two RBI double to pinch hitter, Jorge Orta. George Brett adds a sac fly RBI to cut the lead to 5-4. Unfortunately for Kansas City, their bats go quiet. Cedeno adds a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th to make it 6-4 Cardinals, which would be the final score. The St. Louis Cardinals have obtained redemption and won the 1985 World Series replay four games to one!!!

In real life, though, we know it didn’t work out that way. Kansas City won Game 5 by a score of 6-1 and went on to win the series. But was it a fluke? Either the replay or the real series itself? To answer that question, I simulated one hundred best of seven series between the Cardinals and Royals. The result? St. Louis won 75% of the series. So, Cardinals fans, rest assured your team was the better team in 1985. As for Royals fans, well, you don’t care about the results of the replay. You won the World Series in real life, which in the end, is all that really matters.

 

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