Did it feel like a top 10 season in Royals’ history?
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
It was. Their 86-76 record ranks 10th best for victories in the franchise’s 45-year history. Their winning percentage ranks 11th best, but for this exercise, let’s call it a top 10 year.
In many ways, 2013 felt vibrant and refreshing. It had been a decade since the Royals finished over .500. The Royals played winning baseball in five of six months, and their home record of 44-37 was the franchise’s best since 1992.
Still, although the Royals were part of the American League wild-card chase, making up eight games in the final two months and closing to two games in September, they never played a game with a chance to grab a playoff position.
These Royals finished third of five, behind the Tigers and Indians, in the AL Central Division. The nine Royals teams that had better records never finished worse than second in six- or seven-team divisions. Five reached the playoffs when a division championship was required to make the postseason.
But the 2013 Royals produced the most victories from a team that wasn’t part of the franchise’s glory era of the 1970s and 1980s. Put another way, it’s the best Royals season without George Brett and Frank White on the roster.
The Royals can hope their 86-win finish in 2013 is a start, just like the team that holds ninth place on the victory list. The 1973 Royals finished 88-74, a high-water mark for a five-year-old team. The franchise went on to win 90-plus games in eight of the next 16 seasons.
Top 10 Royals records by victories
• 1977: 102-69*
• 1980: 97-65*
• 1978: 92-70*
• 1989: 92-70
• 1975: 91-71
• 1985: 91-71*
• 1976: 90-72*
• 1982: 90-72
• 1973: 88-74
• 2013: 86-76
To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.