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?
Team won or lost
Oct. 1, 1976
Royals lost to Twins 4-3, while A’s lost to Angels
Sept. 23, 1977
Royals defeated Angels 7-3
Sept. 26, 1978
Royals defeated Mariners 4-1
Sept. 17, 1980
Royals defeated Angels 5-0
Sept. 28, 1984
Royals defeated A’s 6-5
Oct. 5, 1985
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.