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Ask Sports: What’s the earliest date the Royals have ever clinched a division title?

The Royals celebrated a Wild Card berth in 2014. When will they win the division title this season?
The Royals celebrated a Wild Card berth in 2014. When will they win the division title this season? File photo

What’s the earliest date the Royals have ever clinched a division title?

With a 13-game lead on second-place Minnesota through Friday’s games, it’s probably not too early to figure out when exactly the Kansas City Royals will win their first division title in 30 years.

Heading into Saturday’s games, the Royals’ magic number was 22, which meant KC could hypothetically clinch the American League Central in less than two weeks.

While that’s unlikely, it probably won’t be coming down to the last week, either. How does that match up with the team’s six previous division titles?

Date

Game No.

Team won or lost

Oct. 1, 1976

160

Royals lost to Twins 4-3, while A’s lost to Angels

Sept. 23, 1977

151

Royals defeated Angels 7-3

Sept. 26, 1978

158

Royals defeated Mariners 4-1

Sept. 17, 1980

145

Royals defeated Angels 5-0

Sept. 28, 1984

160

Royals defeated A’s 6-5

Oct. 5, 1985

161

Royals defeated A’s 5-4

Through Friday, the Royals had played 128 games. If they can clinch in the next 16 games – unlikely, but not impossible – they’ll break the team record. The date record of Sept. 17 – also set in the team’s 97-win 1980 season – could be in jeopardy.

They won’t be able to touch the major-league records, though. The 1975 Reds clinched on Sept. 7 with a 20 1/2 game lead at the end of the day. In the Wild Card Era, the 1995 and 1999 Indians clinched the AL Central on Sept. 8.

The earliest playoff berth? The juggernaut 1998 Yankees clinched a Wild Card berth on Aug. 29. They finished with 114 wins in the regular season and 11 more in the playoffs for the team’s 24th World Series title.

Joshua Wood

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