It was a heart-breaking loss that, despite a spectacular posteason run last season, has fueled the Royals collective fire this entire year. Ninety feet.
It was a cruel finish to an improbable run in 2014, a run that had many fans already lifting metaphorical World Series trophies in their heads. Now, on the brink of a second straight World Series berth, the Royals are looking to turn back the clock – not to last year, but to 1985, the last time Kansas City won a title.
But, how did Kansas City get to the World Series in the first place? They defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS. Yup. Sound a little bit familiar? In that series, the Jays took a three-games-to-one lead on the Royals, but lost three straight.
The Royals then went on to win the World Series against cross-state rival St. Louis in 1985, staging one of the most epic comebacks in playoff history after coming back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1. Series MVP Bret Saberhagen tossed a five-hit shutout in Game 7 of the Series as the Royals offense bombed St. Louis 11-0.
As far as championship celebrations go, this one is pretty good:
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Royals had about a 30 percent chance of going back to the World Series at any point in the next five seasons, including 2015. Coincidentally, that probability was about the same as the chances for the 1985 team, which had a similar age and “weighted pythagorean winning percentage” as the ’14 Royals.
Kansas City has a chance of making that prediction come true on Friday night with an ALCS Game 6 matchup against the Blue Jays. A victory would send the squad back to the World Series and a matchup against the New York Mets.
Check out the Royals entire postseason history right here:
Royals Playoff History
2015: Currently leads ALCS 3-2 over Toronto Blue Jays
2014: Lost World Series 4-3 to San Francisco Giants
1985: Won World Series 4-3 over St. Louis Cardinals
1984: Lost ALCS 3-0 to Detroit Tigers
1981: Lost ALDS 3-0 to Oakland Athletics
1980: Lost World Series 4-2 to Philadelphia Phillies
1978: Lost ALCS 3-1 to New York Yankees
1977: Lost ALCS 3-2 to New York Yankees
1976: Lost ALCS 3-2 to New York Yankees