George Brett and the Kansas City Royals matured together. Since Brett joined the six-year-old expansion franchise for good in 1974, the Royals have won half a dozen American league West titles. A star pupil of renowned batting coach Charlie Lau, Brett has paced the AL in a greater variety of offensive categories than any other player except Ty Cobb and Lou Gehrig.
� A lifetime batting average of over .300, with two batting crowns
� Hit .390 in 1980, the highest season average since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941
� Hit 20 or more doubles, triples, and home runs in 1979, a feat accomplished by only four other major leaguers
� An all-time record of 9 Championship Series homers
The game that stands out is a playoff game against the Toronto Blue Jays in 1985. I went 4-for-4 with 2 home runs, a double, a base hit and drove in 3 runs. We were down two games to none in the series. It was mandatory that we win. That ranks as my greatest day ever because of the situation, not only because the team needed a win, but because of all the people watching�not only in the United States, but in Canada, too, since 1985 was the Blue Jays' first playoff appearance. To perform in a game of that magnitude is the ultimate for an athlete.
That game was in Kansas City, and Doyle Alexander started for Toronto. I've had success against him, so I went into the game with some hope of having a good game. In my first at bat, Willie Wilson tried to steal and I swung at a changeup. It was Doyle's best pitch to a lefthander in those days. I swung and missed, and Willie was thrown out. Then I hit a home run to put us ahead 1-0.
In the fourth inning I hit a double off the top of the wall, a foot from going out, off a slider. That got another run home and gave us a 2-0 lead.
My next at bat, in the sixth inning, we were behind 5-3. Jesse Barfield had hit a home run for Toronto off Bret Saberhagen, our starter. Rance Mulliniks hit a home run for them, too. Doyle threw me a fastball, and I hit a homer to tie the game.
I've never gotten emotional running the bases before, but as I rounded first base, I jumped up and threw my fist up in the air. I didn't even realize at the time when I did it, but I know I did it because I've seen replays.
My next at bat I was facing Jim Clancy in the eighth. I've probably had the most success against him of any active pitcher. When they brought him in, I was envisioning three home runs.
The last thing I expected from Clancy was a fastball down the middle. That was his first pitch. I was too surprised to do anything but watch it. There went my third home run. Then I swung at a forkball for a single on the ground. I moved over to second on a grounder. Steve Balboni hit a blooper that fell in and I scored. That put us ahead 6-5 with just three outs to go, and we held on.
That game was a do-or-die situation for us. Being playoff games is part of what makes them special. You play 162 games to see who gets to the playoffs. Anytime you survive the playoffs and get to the World Series, you are talking about a major accomplishment. I've been in the seventh game of a World Series. That's enormous pressure. Believe me, there's no such thing as sleep the night before that.
The difference between the World Series and the playoffs versus the regular season is the difference between a bologna sandwich and a rib eye steak. A bologna sandwich is fun once in a while, but when you get that tender, juicy rib eye steak in your mouth, there's no question which you prefer. I think I could live off rib eye steak the rest of my life.
1985 lcs game 3