In a 10-year span ending in 1985, the Royals won at least 90 games in six seasons.
They made the playoffs in all six of those seasons, except one: 1982.
In the strike-shortened season of 1981, the Royals made the playoffs despite a losing record (50-53). In 1984, they won 84 games and made the playoffs.
So that 1982 season sort of sticks out like a sore thumb. The Royals were in first place for 53 days, according to Baseball Reference. But the Royals went 11-16 in September, losing seven games during one stretch.
They were tied with California heading into a three-game series with the Angels that started on Sept. 20. The Angels swept the series, with Tommy John winning and Vida Blue taking the loss in the final game. After beating Oakland, the Royals lost two more.
Down 3 1/2 games with seven to play, the Royals opened a three-game set with the Angels at Royals Stadium. But California won the opener (John again outdueled Blue), and while the Royals took the next two as part of a five-game winning streak, the Angels’ cushion was too large to overcome.
California ended up blowing a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Championship Series against Milwaukee.
Still, the Royals had five All-Stars in 1982, which tied a franchise record that wasn’t broken until this season.
Royals’ 1982 All-Stars
▪ George Brett was the only starter of the group, and it was a down year for him. Of course, most players would take a season like Brett had: He hit .301 with 32 doubles, 21 home runs, 101 runs scored and 82 RBIs. His on-base-plus-slugging percentage was .884.
▪ Hal McRae had another monster season for the Royals and finished fourth in the MVP voting. McRae led the league in doubles (46) and RBIs (133). He had a career-best 332 total bases, batted .308 and mashed 27 home runs. He won his only Silver Slugger award in 1982.
▪ Frank White had his best offensive season as a Royal. He had career highs with 45 doubles, a .298 average and .788 OPS. White won his sixth straight Gold Glove and led the league in putouts by a second baseman, with 361.
▪ Willie Wilson was the league-leader in average (.332) and triples (15). He also won his second Silver Slugger award. Wilson was fourth in the league in hits (194) and fifth in stolen bases (37). His range factor in left field was also first in the AL, according to Baseball Reference.
▪ Dan Quisenberry started a dominating three-year stretch as closer . He led the league in saves (35) and games finished (68). Quiz finished ninth in the MVP voting and third in the Cy Young Award voting.