Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz writes columns for The Eagle. Sometimes there is just too much to fit one column. He offers opinions and observations nearly every day.

Kansas City Royals are in unfamiliar territory

08/20/2014 1:27 PM

08/20/2014 1:46 PM

Here it is, Aug. 20, and the Royals are in first place in the American League Central by two games over Detroit.

The last time Kansas City was in first place all by its lonesome on this date was 1980. The Royals had a 78-42 record on Aug. 20 of that season and went on to win the American League pennant before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

KC wasn’t in first place on Aug. 20 in 1985, the year they beat St. Louis to win the World Series. (No Don Denkinger comment here, I’m above that). They were 64-52 that season, 2.5 games behind the California Angels in the American League West. They went on to go 27-19 the rest of the way and won the division title by a game.

Aug. 20 is almost always an irrelevant date to Royals fans. A time when they’re getting their kids back to school, picking the last tomatoes off of their plants, reading up on the NFL and college football or taking a vacation.

From 1985 through 2013, the Royals’ overall record when Aug. 20 rolled around was a collective 529 games under .500. Only five times in those 28 seasons were the Royals above .500 on Aug. 20 and from 2004 through 2012 they never were.

Actually, Kansas City was in a first-place tie with the Chicago White Sox for first place in the AL Central on Aug. 20, 2003. But the Royals went 18-19 the rest of the way and finished seven games behind Minnesota, which won the Central.

The Royals also were in a first-place tie in the AL West on Aug. 20, 1982, before fading.

Otherwise, Kansas City has been within 10 games of first place on Aug. 20 only six other times since 1985.

The Royals currently are 15 games over .500 (70-55) going into tonight’s game at Colorado, the conclusion of a two-game series at Coors Field. Kansas City actually had a better record on Aug. 20, 1989, when it was 70-53, but still 4.5 games behind Oakland in the American League West. The Royals finished seven games behind the A’s after a 22-17 finish to that season.

Here’s a rundown of the Royals’ Aug. 20 standing since 1985:

2013 - 64-60, 8.5 games out of first place.

2012 - 54-67, 12 games out.

2011 - 52-75, 16 games out.

2010 - 51-70, 19 games out.

2009 - 47-73, 16.5 games out.

2008 - 55-71, 17.5 games out.

2007 - 55-69, 13.5 games out.

2006 - 45-81, 35 games out.

2005 - 39-82, 35.5 games out.

2004 - 43-76, 23 games out.

2003 - 65-60, tied for AL Central lead.

2002 - 51-75, 23.5 games out.

2001 - 51-74, 18.5 games out.

2000 - 58-65, 15.5 games out.

1999 - 46-66, 22 games out.

1998 - 56-71, 13.5 games out.

1997 - 52-71, 13 games out.

1996 - 58-69, 18.5 games out.

1995 - 50-53, 20 games out.

1994 (strike year, season finished) - 64-51, third place in American League Central, 4 games out.

1993 - 64-58, 3 games out.

1992 - 55-65, 17 games out.

1991 - 61-57, 9.5 games out.

1990 - 59-62, 17.5 games out.

1989 - 70-53, 4.5 games out.

1988 - 63-59, 13 games out.

1987 - 60-60, 5 games out.

1986 - 54-66, 12 games out.

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