Milestones toppled in 1985. Nolan Ryan got his 4,000th strikeout, Rod Carew collected his 3,000th hit, and Tom Seaver and Phil Niekro each earned their 300th victory (Seaver and Carew accomplished their feats on the same day). And Pete Rose cracked his 4,192nd hit on September 11, breaking Ty Cobb's major league record.
Three of the four divisions offered close contests. In the American League East, Toronto edged the Yankees by 2 games. The Blue Jays were led by the fantastic outfield of Lloyd Moseby, Jesse Barfield, and George Bell, who combined for 73 homers. Barfield also had a lethal arm, racking up 27 assists.
The Yankees boasted a devastating lineup with MVP Don Mattingly (48 doubles, 145 RBI), Dave Winfield (114 RBI), Rickey Henderson (146 runs, 80 steals), and Don Baylor. Ron Guidry had a strong season, too, winning 22 games. The Yankees chased Toronto throughout the summer, never overtaking them, then replaced Martin with Lou Piniella in the off-season.
The Royals won their division with a pitching staff spearheaded by Cy Young winner Bret Saberhagen, who went 20-6 with a 2.87 ERA. George Brett had one of his finest seasons, batting .335 and driving in 112 runs.
The Cardinals won the National League East, thanks to MVP Willie McGee and his National League-best .353 average. St. Louis edged out the Mets, who were led by phenom Dwight Gooden. Gooden won the Cy Young Award with a league-leading 24 wins, 268 strikeouts, and 1.53 ERA.
In the National League West, Tommy Lasorda's Dodgers won the division on the pitching of Orel Hershiser (who went 19-3) and the offense of Pedro Guerrero and Mike Marshall, who combined for 61 homers.
A few moments blemished the banner year. A players' strike in August halted the season for two days. In September, several players -- including Keith Hernandez and Dave Parker -- testified in court that they had used cocaine. And in their quest for money, the owners expanded the playoffs to a best-of-seven series.
St. Louis defeated the Dodgers in six games to win the National League pennant. Ozzie Smith was the hero of game five, hitting a bottom-of-the-ninth homer to give his club a 3-2 win. In game six, the big hit came from Jack Clark, as he blasted a ninth-inning, three-run homer off Tom Niedenfuer (who also gave up Smith's homer) to give the Cards a 7-5 win.
In the ALCS, Toronto won three of the first four games, but the Royals came back and won three straight, pitting them against cross-state rival St. Louis in the World Series.
The "I-70 Series" proved exciting. The strong pitching of John Tudor and Danny Cox put the favored Cards up two games to none. Frank White's three RBI, however, helped KC win game three. Tudor shut out KC in game four, and the Royals took game five 6-1.
KC trailed three games to two, and were trailing 1-0 in the ninth in game six. But the tide turned KC's way. Royal Jorge Orta led off the ninth with an infield single, which on video replay indicated a bad call by the umpire. Clark then misplayed a foul ball hit by Steve Balboni, and Balboni singled. A passed ball and an intentional walk loaded the bases, and Dane lorg singled to win the game 2-1, forcing game seven.
The Royals won the final game 11-0, knocking Tudor out after 21/3 innings. The victory gave the Royals their first World Championship.
Check out the next page for headlines and summaries of the 1985 baseball season's top stories.
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