Former Royals center fielder Willie Wilson is not shy about saying the 1985 team was not the best the Royals have ever fielded. However, there was something about that year and that team that just made him feel like they were destined to win.
He sees some of those same elements in this year’s squad, which plays against the San Francisco Giants in game two of the World Series on Tuesday night.
“If these guys play the game they are capable of playing, it doesn’t matter what record you show up with,” Wilson said. “You can put numbers out there all day long, but a man’s heart is where the game is played.”
He was one of three former Royals who sat nestled between the 10 life-size bronze statues on the Field of Legends at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to reminisce on their experiences with the 1985 team as part of a promotion for the World Series. He was joined by Frank White and Danny Jackson for a panel discussion and question-and-answer session with former Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski, who now works for NBC Sports.
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White noted that the biggest difference between this year’s team and theirs was experience, since they had already played in the World Series in 1980. He also sees a difference in the fans this time around.
“It’s been so long since we’ve won that it is almost like a football crowd watching a baseball game,” White said. “From the very first pitch they are chanting, ‘Let’s go Royals,’ and cheering for every strike. Our crowds back in those days would sit back, wait and react.”
They group also lauded the 2014 team’s defense and speed, comparing it to themselves back in the day.