1980 American League Championship Series

Infobox LCS
alcs = yes

year = 1980
champion = Kansas City Royals (3)
champion_manager = Jim Frey
champion_games = 97-65, .599, GA: 14
runnerup = New York Yankees (0)
runnerup_manager = Dick Howser
runnerup_games = 103-59, .636, GA: 3
date = October 8October 10
MVP = Frank White (Kansas City)
television = ABC
announcers = Al Michaels, Billy Martin, and Jim Palmer
radio_network = CBS Radio
radio_announcers = Ernie Harwell and Curt Gowdy
umpires = Steve Palermo, Joe Brinkman, Larry McCoy, Bill Haller, Ken Kaiser, George Maloney
The by|1980 American League Championship Series faced the 97-65 Kansas City Royals against the team that had defeated them three straight years in the ALCS from 1976-1978, the 103-59 New York Yankees.


Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees

Kansas City wins the series, 3-0

Game summaries

Game 1

Wednesday, October 8, 1980 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, MissouriLinescore
Road=New York|RoadAbr=NYY
Home=Kansas City|HomeAbr=KCR
WP=Larry Gura (1-0)|LP=Ron Guidry (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Rick Cerone (1), Lou Piniella (1)|HomeHR=George Brett (1)|

Game 2

Thursday, October 9, 1980 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, MissouriLinescore
Road=New York|RoadAbr=NYY
Home=Kansas City|HomeAbr=KCR
WP=Dennis Leonard (1-0)|LP=Rudy May (0-1)|SV=Dan Quisenberry (1)
RoadHR=Graig Nettles (1)|HomeHR=|

Game 2 proved to be much more exciting. With the Royals clinging to a 3-2 lead, the Yankees threatened in the eighth. Willie Randolph singled, and with two outs Bob Watson ripped a liner to deep left field. Confident in Randolph's speed, Yankee third base coach Mike Ferraro decided to wave Randolph home. Left fielder Willie Wilson overthrew his cutoff man, shortstop U L Washington, but third baseman George Brett made a heads-up play by backing up Washington. He then whirled and threw Randolph out at the plate. The Royals ended up winning by that 3-2 margin, and after the game Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was furious at his third base coach.

Game 3

Friday, October 10, 1980 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New YorkLinescore
Road=Kansas City|RoadAbr=KCR
Home=New York|HomeAbr=NYY
WP=Dan Quisenberry (1-0)|LP=Rich Gossage (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=George Brett (2), Frank White (1)|HomeHR=|

With a 2-0 series lead, the Royals headed to Yankee Stadium for Game 3. Holding on to a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning, pitcher Tommy John gave up a two-out double to Willie Wilson. Yankee manager Dick Howser brought in hard-throwing Goose Gossage, who gave up a single to U L Washington, bringing up Brett. Brett had wowed the majors during the year, flirting with batting .400 before finishing the year at .390.

Brett blasted a Gossage fastball into the upper deck, stunning the Yankee Stadium crowd. The Royals had a 4-2 lead with All-Star reliever Dan Quisenberry on the mound. The Yankees mounted a major threat in the eighth, loading the bases with no one out. Quisenberry then got Rick Cerone to line into a double play and the next batter to ground out to close out the inning. The ninth went one-two-three as the Royals and the long-suffering Kansas City baseball fans finally won the American League Pennant.

Composite Box

1980 ALCS (3-0): Kansas City Royals over New York YankeesLinescore
Road=Kansas City Royals
Home=New York Yankees
H1=0|H2=2|H3=0|H4=0|H5=2|H6=2|H7=0|H8=0|H9=0|HR=6|HH=26|HE=1Total Attendance: 141,819 Average Attendance: 47,273|


Steinbrenner had wanted third base coach Mike Ferraro fired immediately after the conclusion of Game 2 of the 1980 ALCS, because the Yankees had lost after Ferraro had waved Willie Randolph home on a double by Bob Watson with two outs in the top of the eighth inning and the Yankees down 3-2. Randolph had been thrown out at home-plate by George Brett, prompting Steinbrenner to jump out of his seat and shout what appeared to be profanities on live national television. Yankees manager Dick Howser refused Steinbrenner's demand.

Steinbrenner's behavior was reminiscent of that of Oakland As owner Charles O. Finley during the 1973 World Series. During Game 2 of the '73 Series, Finley attempted to "fire" second-baseman Mike Andrews for his two errors in extra innings that allowed the New York Mets to win the game, 10-7. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn intervened and fined Finley. Despite winning his second consecutive World Series as skipper of the A's, manager Dick Williams, fed up with Finley's constant meddling, announced his resignation minutes after the deciding seventh game.

After the Yankees were swept in three games after having beaten Kansas City in the ALCS in 1976, '77, and '78, Steinbrenner did not afford Howser the dignity of being permitted to resign. Instead, "The Boss" fired Howser shortly after the conclusion of the 1980 ALCS. Ironically, Howser would go on to win the 1985 World Series as manager of Kansas City. After losing the 1981 World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers (whom they had beaten in consecutive World Series in the 1977 and 1978 after besting the Royals for the American League crown), the Yankees would not again appear in the Fall Classic until 1996 under veteran manager Joe Torre, who in 1980 was serving a thankless managerial apprenticeship with the Yankees' cross-borough rivals the Mets, trying to rebuild a franchise racked and nearly ruined under the regime of curmudgeonly general manager M. Donald Grant, the man who traded Mets' pitching stalwart Tom Seaver to the Reds.

A postscript to the Brett-Gossage matchup came three years later in a regular season game, in which would transpire the Pine Tar Incident. On July 24, 1983, the two superstars faced each other again, and again Brett homered, this time in the ninth to give the Royals a 5-4 lead in the game. But after umpire Tim McClelland, upon the request of Yankees manager Billy Martin (then in his third stint as Yankees manager), inspected Brett's bat, the umpire discovered that pine tar had been applied above the area allowed by the rules. McClelland, shown a copy of the rules book by Martin, called Brett out. Brett charged out of the dugout in a rage, and Royals manager Dick Howser protested, but to no avail. The Yankees would end up winning 4-3.

Later, American League President Leland S. MacPhail, Jr. later ruled that the home run should stand, and all the players went back out onto the field at Yankee Stadium on August 18 and played out the game with the runs put back on the board. The Royals ended up winning the game, but it was rather anticlimactic as neither team would come close to making it to the playoffs that year.


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