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Signing off his live broadcast, Los Angeles Angels broadcaster Victor Rojas receives a phone call. A fresh order of prints — featuring Hank Aaron’s “755” — have just shipped.

The Overland Park native’s apparel startup, Big Fly Gear, has been growing steadily since its launch in February, Rojas said. The clothing line, fittingly, celebrates historical milestones in baseball. The company name: a callback to Rojas’ own career with the sport, he said.

“‘Big Fly’ has been my home run call for years,” Rojas said, describing the catchphrase that’s developed over 17 years in Major League Baseball games.

Rojas’ ties to baseball go even deeper, however. The announcer-turned-entrepreneur is the son of Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer Cookie Rojas, who served as the team’s second baseman and later manager.

The resurgence of baseball in Rojas’ hometown — and with his father’s former team — make a great fit for Big Fly, he said.

“The KC sports feel helps us tremendously, here in the Midwest,” said Rojas, who noted the majority of sales so far have been centered around Big Fly’s homebase in Dallas, as well as cities west of the Mississippi.

Focused on graphics, Big Fly’s brand tells a story, Rojas emphasized.

“If you like baseball, you will like the look and the vintage feel,” he said, acknowledging his early decision to avoid Angels-related merchandise in favor of highlighting milestones from different generations of baseball history — like Hank Aaron’s 755 career home runs.

“Right now, we are going back in time,” Rojas continued, describing Big Fly’s first at bat. “There are a thousand ideas out there and a million stories for us to tell.”

Some of those tales might well come from Kansas City’s rich history with the sport, he said.

Kansas City baseball goes back further than the Royals and the Athletics, the latter of which left the city after the 1967 season. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is headquartered in KC, showcasing stories that led to the integration of baseball with opportunities for players of all races.

Working with the museum’s president, Bob Kendrick, Big Fly’s apparel could feature graphics tied of the era of Buck O’Neil, Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, Rojas said.

View this post on Instagram
Thank you to Victor Rojas and all my friends @bigflygear.

A post shared by Albert Pujols (@albertpujols) on May 10, 2019 at 8:49am PDT

Uniting with a timeless sport

A fan-designed logo gives Big Fly a classic look while still remaining trendy, he explained.

And while not everyone knows what “Big Fly” means right off the bat, photos of his family wearing the apparel help communicate the message of America’s pastime online and on various social media platforms, Rojas said.

Click here to check out Big Fly Gear’s selection.

One momentous shout-out came May 10 on Instagram, he added, from none other than Angels first baseman and designated hitter Albert Pujols — formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals — who that night homered for his 2,000th career RBI. (The Angels ultimately won 13-0 over the Detroit Tigers in the May 9 matchup.)

Pleased by Big Fly’s revenue so far, Rojas said there’s more to the brand’s story to come.

“In our Big Fly Brigade, we will give back,” he said.

The startup is planning donations each month to veterans groups, he said, ultimately aiming to pay for a military family to go to every Fourth of July baseball game at MLB ballparks.

“It’s not just about us making money,” he said.

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Another offseason, another Gold Glove nomination for Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, who is vying for his seventh award.
From the department of “Have we been here before?” it was announced today that Alex Gordon is up for another Gold Glove nomination. If he were to win this season, this would add to his 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018 crownings as a member of the Kansas City Royals.

This will be his highest fielding percentage for a year since 2013, when he made one error in 341 chances for a .997 mark. He also only made one error in 2019 but with only 276 chances his percentage dropped to .996. His lone error was not fielding a baseball but on a throw way back on May 8th at the Los Angeles Angels.

His seven outfield assists are the lowest since 2016 but that is a combination of fewer chances hit his way and teams not being willing to run on Gordon despite his aging arm. Compared to other outfielders, he fielded his position 11 points higher than league average which is an amazing difference.

Congrats on being named a Rawlings #GoldGlove Award finalist, Gordo! #AlwaysRoyal

He also started two double plays for the Kansas City Royals and on all plays hit his direction that had a 40-60 percent chance of being fielding successfully, he closed the deal a ridiculous 88.9 percent of the time. If he were to win, Gordon would tie Frank White for most Gold Gloves in Kansas City Royals franchise history. Overall he would only be behind Ken Griffey Jr. for placing in the top three overall in outfield Gold Gloves won.

Not bad for a player who did not begin playing the outfield full-time until his fifth year in the majors converting from third base. He was 27 years old when that happened and the next season he won his first Gold Glove. On top of all the Gold Gloves won, in 2014 Gordon received the American League Platinum Glove which is an award from the fans who vote on the best defensive player from that season’s Gold Glove winners.

Imagine if Gordon came up with the Kansas City Royals playing left field the entire time and his bat was producing to keep him in the lineup. He could easily be challenging for the all-time lead in this award for outfielders.

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The Rule 5 draft will take place at the Winter Meetings in December, but the deadline to add eligible players to the 40-man roster to protect them from being drafted is Wednesday, November 20. The Royals currently have a full 40-man roster, so they will have to do some roster shuffling to add players in anticipation of the draft.

What is the Rule 5 draft exactly? It is a way of making sure organizations don’t hoard talent by stashing minor leaguers without giving them a chance. Players eligible to be protected are those players not on the 40-man roster that were 18 or younger on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fifth Rule 5 draft upcoming; or were 19 or older on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fourth Rule 5 draft upcoming. Basically, if you were a high school draftee or international signee who began their pro career in 2015 or before, or a college draftee who began in 2016 or before, you are eligible.*

*-there are weird exceptions to this, like the one that Blue Jays exploited to steal Elvis Luciano from the Royals last year

Let’s take a look at who might get added and who may get exposed to the Rule 5 draft

Locks to get protected
Nick Heath is almost certainly going to be added to the 40-man roster and is a dark horse to make the roster out of spring training. The speedy outfielder hit .255/.345/.387 across Double-A and Triple-A last year and led all minor leaguers with 60 steals. He performed well in the Arizona Fall League in 2018 and is holding his own in winter ball and having a blast doing it.

Carlos Hernandez is the kind of player teams covet in the Rule 5 draft, a high-upside power arm in the low minors who has been held back by injuries. The 22-year old right-hander posted a 3.50 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 36 innings for low-A Lexington last year, but teams will be enticed by his 95 mph fastball. With the state of the pitching in the organization, the Royals will almost certainly protect the young Venezuelan who is ranked the #13 prospect in the system by MLB Pipeline.

Could get protected
Gabriel Cancel has pretty good pop for a second baseman, slamming 18 home runs for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and batting .246/.308/.735 overall. The 22-year old has experience in the upper minors and is still young enough to have some upside. He was overwhelmed in the Arizona Fall League this year, but his ability to play all over the infield may make him enticing to teams.

Gerson Garabito has been good, not great, posting a 3.77 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 141 innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The 23-year old right-hander features a fastball in the low-90s and has always had average to below-average strikeout rates, so the upside seems limited, but a team may gamble on him hoping to unlock more.

Grant Gavin is a Kansas City native who attended Central Missouri University and has posted strong numbers as a reliever at each level. He had a 3.61 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas this year, and had a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League. The 24-year old right-hander has struggled with walks a bit, but he could be able to make the jump into a big league bullpen soon.

Ofreidy Gomez is a 24-year old right-hander that has flown under the radar, but features a mid-90s fastball that teams could covet. He had a 4.05 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Seuly Matias was considered one of the top prospects in the system a year ago, but a disastrous season and a hand injury have diminished his value. Matias hit 31 home runs in 2018 for Low-A Lexington, but hit just .148 with a 45 percent strikeout rate for High-A Wilmington in 57 games this year, missing the last two months. He still has great power potential at age 21, but teams typically don’t select raw power hitters with high strikeout rates, so Matias could very well be unprotected.

Blake Perkins was acquired from the Nationals in 2018 in the Kelvin Herrera. The 23-year old centerfielder hit .224/.330/.347 in 122 games across High-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He has good speed and has shown an ability to get on base with a 12.8 percent walk rate in his career, but his failure to hit much in his career may keep teams away.

Sebastian Rivero gets lost in the catching depth the Royals have, but Rivero was considered the best defensive backstop in the system by Baseball America in 2018. The Royals already have four catchers on the 40-man roster with Salvador Perez, Cam Gallagher, Meibrys Viloria, and Nick Dini. Rivero has only played three games above High-A ball and has never hit much, so teams may not want him to make the jump to the big leagues.

Have been passed over before
D.J. Burt has some speed and positional versatility as a second baseman and outfielder, but hit just .226/.303/.304 in 80 games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The 24-year old has virtually no power, but could still have some use as a utility player and pinch-runner.

Foster Griffin was exposed to the draft last year and went unselected. The former first-round pick had seemingly ugly numbers in Triple-A this season, posting a 5.23 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 130 2/3 innings, but that was actually a league-average ERA in the offensive-crazy Pacific Coast League. The left-hander has always been a bit underwhelming in his minor league career, but he is still just 24 and has pitched very well in winter ball this year.

Jake Kalish has been a serviceable left-hander in Omaha’s rotation the past two seasons, but at age 28, lacks the upside teams are looking for in the Rule 5 draft. He posted a 5.16 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 118 2⁄3 innings for Omaha this year. Kalish has generally posted underwhelming strikeout rates in his career, but very low walk rates, so he could be attractive to a team looking for a strike-thrower.

Yunior Marte seems like the kind of pitcher teams should like in the Rule 5 draft, but he went unselected in last year’s draft. Marte has a loose arm that can hit 96 mph on the radar gun and can fill any role on a staff. The 24-year old right-hander had a 3.58 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings across Double-A and Triple-A this season.

Rudy Martin is a speedster who can draw some walks, but fails to hit much otherwise. He hit .185/.260/.283 across three levels this year, swiping 26 bases in 100 games. He had a 32 percent strikeout rate, far too high for a non-power hitter, so unless a team sees him as an asset on the bases only, he seems unlikely to get selected.

Emilio Ogando improved his strikeout rate moving to the bullpen this year, although his overall numbers were still underwhelming. The 26-year old left-hander had a 5.20 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings mostly in Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Ogando has generally posted decent numbers in the minors, but with lower strikeout rates, and at his age, there isn’t much upside.

Chase Vallot has had trouble staying healthy and making contact, but he does flash some great power when he connects. The former first-round pick hit just .190/.303/.401 with 14 home runs in 83 games for Low-A Lexington this past season. The 23-year is a patient hitter, but has pretty much no defensive value and a 38 percent career strikeout rate, so he will not be selected.

Nolan Watson has a 6.46 ERA in his career since the Royals made him a first-round pick in 2015 and missed most of this season due to Tommy John surgery. The 22-year old right-hander has a “fringe-average fastball” and seems unlikely to be selected.

Long shots to be added
Jeison Guzman was given a $1.5 million bonus out of the Dominican Republic, but his bat has failed to develop since then. The 21-year old hit .253/.296/.373 with seven home runs in 121 games for Low-A Lexington this past season. He has a left-handed bat and some good tools, so he may still have a future, but he seems unlikely to be selected in the Rule 5.

Janser Lara has a live arm and an ability to miss bats, but he was out the entire 2019 season with an undisclosed injury. The 23-year old has a 4.02 ERA in his career with 10.5 strikeouts-per-nine innings, but 4.7 walks-per-nine innings, and has never pitched above low-A ball, making him very unlikely to be chosen.

Emmanuel Rivera is ranked as the #19 prospect in the system by MLB Pipeline due to offensive potential, but he has not developed much power yet. The 23-year old had a down year for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, hitting .258/.297/.345, and there usually isn’t much use for third basemen who struggle with the bat in the Rule 5 draft.

Ashe Russell has been an enigma since the Royals selected him 21st overall in the 2015 draft, tossing just 38 1⁄3 professional innings in his career. Russell had psychological issues that prevented him from throwing a baseball correctly and walked away from baseball at one point. Jeffrey Flanagan reported last winter that he had made progress and could return to the mound, but the 23-year old never appeared in a game this year.

Andres Sotillet has a thick frame and a low-90s fastball, but hasn’t translated that into a high strikeout rate. The 22-year old right-hander did perform adequately for Double-A Northwest Arkansas this season with a 3.35 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. His walk rate took a big spike this year, but he has generally been a solid strike-thrower.

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1985 — The Kansas City Royals, behind Bret Saberhagen’s five-hitter, beat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-0 in Game 7 of the World Series. The Royals became the sixth team in major league history to rally from a three-games-to-one deficit to win the World Series.

1986 — The New York Mets won the World Series with an 8-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Game 7. The Mets rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win behind home runs by Ray Knight and Darryl Strawberry. Knight is named Series MVP.

1989 — The World Series resumed after a 10-day delay because of the San Francisco earthquake. Oakland, behind two homers by Dave Henderson, beat the Giants 13-7 in Game 3.

1991 — Pinch-hitter Gene Larkin hit a game-winning single with the bases loaded in the 10th inning as the Minnesota Twins beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0 to win one of the most exciting World Series in history. Series MVP Jack Morris pitched a seven-hitter over 10 innings and won only the third decisive seventh game in World Series history to go into extra innings.

1996 — After two humbling losses at home, the New York Yankees won their first World Series title since 1978 with a 3-2 victory over the defending champion Atlanta Braves in Game 6.

1999 — Roger Clemens pitched the New York Yankees to their second straight World Series sweep, shutting down the Atlanta Braves 4-1. The Yankees won their record 25th championship — third in four years.

2001 — The Arizona Diamondbacks pounded the New York Yankees 9-1 in the World Series opener. The score was set at 9-1 in the fourth inning. Arizona’s Craig Counsell and Luis Gonzalez homered off Yankees pitcher Mike Mussin. Curt Schilling held the Yankees to three hits, including Bernie Williams’ bloop RBI double in the first, over seven innings and struck out eight.

2002 — The Anaheim Angels won the World Series with a 4-1 win over the Giants in Game 7 at San Francisco’s Edison Field. Garret Anderson’s three-run double in the third inning put the Angels up 4-1. John Lackey became the first rookie to win a seventh game since 1909 when Babe Adams did it for the Pirates.

2004 — The Boston Red Sox became World Series champions at long, long last. Johnny Damon homered on the fourth pitch of the game, Derek Lowe made it stand up and the Red Sox won Game 4 3-0, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals for their first crown since 1918. Manny Ramirez, who batted .412 (7-for-17) with a homer and four RBIs, was named Boston’s first World Series MVP.

2006 — The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2 in Game 5 to wrap up their first Series title in nearly a quarter-century and 10th overall.

2010 — Freddy Sanchez and the San Francisco Giants chased Cliff Lee early, roughing up the postseason ace for an 11-7 victory over the Texas Rangers in the World Series opener. Sanchez doubled three times in the first five innings and finished with three RBIs.

2011 — David Freese homered to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals forced the World Series to a Game 7 by rallying from two-run deficits against the Texas Rangers in the 9th and 10th.

2013 — Another wacky end to a World Series game as Game 4 finished with a pickoff play, a first in postseason history. Jonny Gomes hit a decisive, three-run homer as the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 to tie the series at two games apiece. Koji Uehara picked off rookie pinch-runner Kolten Wong at first base for the final out — with postseason star Carlos Beltran standing at the plate.

2015 — Alex Gordon hit a tying home run with one out in the ninth inning, Eric Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly against Bartolo Colon in the 14th and the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets 5-4 in the longest opener in World Series history.

2018 — Steve Pearce hit a tying homer in the eighth inning and a three-run double in the ninth, and the Boston Red Sox rallied from a four-run deficit for a 9-6 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers and a 3-1 World Series lead.

Today’s birthdays: Francisco Mejia 24; Carlos Perez 29; Jay Jackson 32; Martin Prado 35.

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Kansas City Royals left fielder, former Nebraska baseball star and Lincoln Southeast grad Alex Gordon won his 3rd straight and 7th career Gold Glove award Sunday night.

GOLDEN – Kansas City Royals OF, former #Huskers star and @LSEAthletics grad Alex Gordon wins his 3rd straight and 7…
Courtesy: Royals Media Relations

KANSAS CITY, MO (November 3, 2019) – Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., and ESPN announced tonight that Royals left fielder Alex Gordon has earned his seventh career Rawlings Gold Glove Award, receiving the award for the third time in as many seasons. Gordon was also honored as the top left fielder in the American League by Rawlings from 2011-14 and 2017-18. Dating back to 2011, Kansas City has won a Major League-best 17 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and are the only American League team with at least one winner in each of the last nine seasons (since 2011), trailing only Colorado’s streak of 10 straight seasons among Major League teams.

The awards were voted on by managers and coaches from the American and National Leagues, and honor the best individual fielding performances at each position in both leagues.

Kansas City now has 35 Rawlings Gold Gloves by 13 different players in its 51-year history. Gordon’s seven awards are second most in franchise history, trailing Frank White’s eight (1977-82, ’86-87).

Gordon, who was named the Rawlings Platinum Glove winner in 2014, has 98 outfield assists since 2010, tied with Gerardo Parra for most in the Majors during that time. His seven outfield assists – including three in his first 17 games – tied for third-most among Major League left fielders in 2019, two shy of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for the lead. He was charged with just one error in 276 chances in left field, the fewest errors by a left fielder with as many chances since his 2013 campaign, when he committed just one error in 341 chances. Gordon’s only error came on May 18 at Angel Stadium, and he ended the season with 105 straight games (104 starts) and 214 total chances without an error. Since moving to the outfield in 2010, only one other outfielder has more total chances that Gordon (2,788) and fewer errors (18): Nick Markakis (14 E in 2,918 TC).

Gordon’s seven Rawlings Gold Gloves are second most among outfielders active in 2019, trailing Ichiro Suzuki’s 10. Gordon was one of three finalists among American League left fielders, beating out Boston’s Andrew Benintendi and Oakland’s Robbie Grossman.

Voting for the Rawlings Platinum Gold Glove Award presented by SABR began at the conclusion of the awards show at, allowing the public to weigh in as to who is “The Finest in the Field ®” in both the American League and National League. A combination of the international fan vote and the SABR Defensive Index will determine who takes home the honor of each League’s top defensive player. The Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners will be unveiled during the 2019 Rawlings Gold Glove Award Ceremony presented by Gold Sport Collectibles on Friday, November 8.

Below is a list of Kansas City’s 35 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners by 13 different players:

1971 – Amos Otis (OF)

1973 – Amos Otis (OF)

1974 – Amos Otis (OF)

1977 – Al Cowens (OF), Frank White (2B)

1978 – Frank White (2B)

1979 – Frank White (2B)

1980 – Frank White (2B), Willie Wilson (OF)

1981 – Frank White (2B)

1982 – Frank White (2B)

1985 – George Brett (3B)

1986 – Frank White (2B)

1987 – Frank White (2B)

1989 – Bob Boone (C), Bret Saberhagen (P)

2000 – Jermaine Dye (OF)

2006 – Mark Grudzielanek (2B)

2011 – Alex Gordon (LF)

2012 – Alex Gordon (LF)

2013 – Alex Gordon (LF), Eric Hosmer (1B), Salvador Perez (C)

2014 – Alex Gordon (LF), Eric Hosmer (1B), Salvador Perez (C)

2015 – Alcides Escobar (SS), Eric Hosmer (1B), Salvador Perez (C)

2016 – Salvador Perez (C)

2017 – Alex Gordon (LF), Eric Hosmer (1B)

2018 – Alex Gordon (LF), Salvador Perez (C)

2019 – Alex Gordon (LF)

Each manager and up to six coaches on his staff vote from a pool of qualified players in their League and cannot vote for players on their own team. In 2013, Rawlings added a sabermetric component to the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process, as part of its new collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). The SABR Defensive Index comprises approximately 25 percent of the overall selection total, while the managers’ and coaches’ vote continues to carry the majority.

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Monday morning, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa underwent hip surgery to repair damage suffered on Saturday against Mississippi State. By all reports, this procedure was a success. Team surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain has since released a statement and revealed that Tagovailoa should make a full recovery.

“Tua underwent successful surgery on his right hip Monday morning in Houston,” Dr. Cain said in a statement. “The procedure went as planned, and he is resting comfortably. Tua’s prognosis is excellent, and we expect him to make a full recovery. He will return to Tuscaloosa in the next several days to begin his rehab.”

There were concerns following the injury about Tagovailoa no longer being able to play football, much like former Raiders running back Bo Jackson after he suffered a dislocated hip in 1991. However, the Los Angeles Rams team surgeon, Dr. Michael Banffy, explained how these two situations are different.

“What can happen with the dislocation is that blood vessels will either tear or they’ll be placed on stretch for so long that the bone itself will lose its blood supply and that will cause death of the bone,” Banffy said, per “If you get it reduced right away, the idea is that will minimize the risk. But this is still something that you have to watch and it might not even present itself for a couple of months, similar to the way it did with Bo Jackson.”

For now, Tagovailoa’s future prospects seem positive, to the point that he could potentially prepare for the NFL Draft. However, the recovery timeline will play a role. Three months is one possibility, but Dr. Banffy believes that six months is more likely. This would mean that Tagovailoa would not be eligible to take part in the physical workouts during the NFL Scouting Combine, provided he skips his senior season at Alabama in pursuit of a pro career.

Still, Dr. Banffy does not believe that suffering this injury would drastically affect Tagovailoa’s prospects. He believes that the Alabama star will still be a first-round pick for a quarterback-needy team.

“I don’t think this will knock him out of the first round, for sure,” Banffy said. “It will probably knock him out of the top five, which is where people were predicting him in but I think that it all depends on how he progressively heals and how he looks at the combine.”

With teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears potentially searching for a new option at quarterback, there will be multiple potential destinations for Tagovailoa. However, he will first have to recover from Monday’s surgery and avoid any setbacks.

Hit play to listen to GroupChat’s new Episode 12! The Sexiest Man Alive John Legend has arrived! And Khloe Kardashian won a People’s Choice Awards and didn’t even know it? Tune in and tap subscribe for these deets and more on Sean Spicer getting the boot from ‘DWTS’ and some Royals Christmas Controversy!

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With Ned Yost’s retirement, the Kansas City Royals need a new manager. The franchise is botching its search for Yost’s successor.
The Kansas City Royals will be one of a whopping eight teams with a new manager when the 2020 season starts. The Angels, Cubs, Giants, Mets, Padres, Pirates, and Phillies will also have new skippers in the dugout once the end of March rolls around.

But unlike those seven other teams, the Royals are botching the search for the team’s next manager, mainly by not bothering to look outside the organization.

Sure, the Royals have enough change going on this offseason, what with John Sherman purchasing the team from David Glass and his family. Franchise stalwart Alex Gordon may also not be back. And, of course, Yost, who took over managerial duties from Trey Hillman just 35 games into the 2010 season, announced his retirement during the last week of the season.

In a way, staying in house makes sense.

There are several in-house candidates with previous managerial experience, both in the Minors and the Majors, from Vance Wilson, who managed several Royals farm teams before being named bullpen coach for the MLB squad in 2017, to Mike Matheny, former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals from 2012 through the midpoint in 2018 and who is now a special adviser for the Royals.

Plus, staying within the organization keeps the status quo intact, at least for the time being. This allows general manager Dayton Moore to keep a familiar face around while he learns to work for a new owner. And it seemingly would help Sherman’s transition from the Cleveland Indians, an organization for whom he was part-owner, to the Royals.

Yet, the names connected so far with the Royals search don’t inspire a lot of confidence. And for a team that hasn’t cracked 60 wins in the past two seasons, confidence is a must right about now.

Wilson, who has interviewed for the job, has zero name recognition outside of diehard Royals fans and those who cover the team. And Matheny, despite winning the pennant with the Cardinals in 2013 and taking them to another in 2014, was fired when he lost the clubhouse for old-school ways–and the Cardinals instantly improved after he was let go, winning their division and making it to the NLCS this year.

It’s unknown whether Mike Matheny will be announced today as manager of the #Royals or after the Series.

— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 24, 2019

The Royals are also reportedly considering Pedro Grifol, the team’s quality control and catching coach who’s been part of the big league staff since 2013. He has never managed a team at any level, though has also received interest from the Giants.

This all begs the question: why aren’t the Royals looking outside of the organization for their next manager?

Both the Angels (Joe Maddon) and Phillies (Joe Girardi) hired guys from outside their organization. The Cubs went with David Ross, who recently worked as an analyst for ESPN. And the Padres just hired Jayce Tingler, a former Mizzou Tiger who had recently served as the bench coach for the Texas Rangers.

Of the final four teams in the playoffs this season, three of them were led by managers hired from outside their organization. The Astros hired A.J. Hinch after he resigned from the Padres’ front office. The Nationals hired Dave Martinez away from the Cubs. And the Yankees pried Aaron Boone away from the television booth.

Only the Cardinals had stayed within the organization, and that may have had more to do with who they fired (Matheny) than who they hired (Mike Shildt).

Sherman is taking over the Royals after owning a portion of the Indians since 2016. While Tribe manager Terry Francona is unavailable, other names on that coaching staff include Sandy Alomar Jr., who played in the Majors for 20 seasons; bench coach Brad Mills, who managed the Astros for three seasons; and pitching coach Carl Willis, under whose tutelage four pitchers have won Cy Young Awards.

Here are five other outside candidates the Kansas City Royals could consider, and who have been considered by other teams this offseason:

Ron Washington, who won consecutive pennants with the Rangers at the start of the decade and was a finalist for the Padres top job;
Dusty Baker, who managed four teams over 22 seasons and was a finalist for the Phillies top job;
Buck Showalter, who managed four teams over 20 seasons and who was in the mix for both the Phillies and Angels top job;
Joe Espada, Astros bench coach who interviewed for the Cubs top job; and
Stubby Clapp, Cardinals first-base coach who managed in their minors for years and who has interviewed, or will interview, for the Pirates top job.
What would it hurt to interview these coaches?

Worst-case scenario, it drills into Moore’s brain that he needs to stick with a coach he knows, like Grifol, Matheny, or Wilson. Best-case scenario, one of these coaches blows away Moore, and a little bit of new blood gets mixed into the on-field portion of the Kansas City Royals.

By not even interviewing outside candidates, Moore is doubling-down on not only his legacy in Kansas City, but his employment with the Royals. He’s going to be connected at the hip with this next hire. By not even considering outside options, he’s not doing himself any favors.

Nor is he doing his employer any favors.

By only considering people within the Kansas City Royals organization for the managerial position, Dayton Moore is wasting a great opportunity to shine a light on his team. If he hires one of the known candidates for the position, no one outside of Kansas City will care, blink an eye, or take notice.

That’s the worst thing about this whole situation: at a time when excitement can be added, Moore declines to do so.

It’s all so incredibly boring.

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Birthdays are always exciting, but some can be more special than others. Nationals outfielder Juan Soto will celebrate his 21st in one of the most epic fashions imaginable on Friday — when he plays in World Series Game 3 against the Astros, the first World Series game in Washington since 1933.

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 22 WSH 5, HOU 4 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 23 WSH 12, HOU 3 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 25 HOU 4, WSH 1 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 26 HOU 8, WSH 1 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 27 HOU 7, WSH 1 Watch
Gm 6 Oct. 29 WSH 7, HOU 2 Watch
Gm 7 Oct. 30 WSH 6, HOU 2 Watch
shop Shop for postseason gear: Nationals | Astros
Postseason schedule and bracket
If Soto homers, he’ll be just the fourth player to hit a birthday home run in a postseason game, and the second to do that in the World Series. Kolten Wong hit a homer on his 25th birthday in Game 2 of the 2015 National League Division Series for the Cardinals, and Evan Longoria hit one on his 28th in Game 3 of the 2013 American League Division Series for the Rays. The only player to do it in the World Series was the Royals’ Willie Aikens in Game 1 in 1980 — when he hit two homers on his 26th birthday.

Soto made his Major League debut on May 20, 2018, and he’s been wowing us ever since. To celebrate his birthday, here are 21 facts and figures.

World Series
1) Soto homered in his World Series debut in Game 1, when he was still 20 years old. He became the fourth-youngest player in postseason history to homer in the World Series, trailing only Miguel Cabrera, Andruw Jones and Mickey Mantle. He also became the second-youngest player to homer in his World Series debut, trailing only Jones.

2) Soto also had a stolen base in Game 1, becoming the youngest player in postseason history to homer and steal a base in the same game. The youngest had been Derek Jeter, at 22 years and 105 days old in Game 1 of the 1996 AL Championship Series.

Soto swipes second in 8th
Soto swipes second in 8th
Oct. 22nd, 2019
3) Overall in Game 1, Soto had three hits, including two extra-base hits. He became the second-youngest player in World Series history with multiple extra-base hits in a game, trailing only 19-year-old Jones in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series — two years before Soto was born.

Must C: Soto shines in WS debut
Must C: Soto shines in WS debut
Oct. 23rd, 2019
4) Soto’s three hits made him the fifth-youngest player in World Series history with three or more in a game. The 18-year-old Freddie Lindstrom had two such games in 1924, Jones had two in 1996, and Joe Garagiola had one in 1946 and Mickey Mantle one in 1952 — both as younger 20-year-olds than Soto.

5) In Game 2, Soto hit a double, notching the sixth extra-base hit of his postseason career — all of which have come this year. With six extra-base hits before turning 21, he tied Cabrera for most in a postseason career at 20 years old or younger.

Soto’s double to right
Soto’s double to right
Oct. 24th, 2019
6) In the seventh inning of Game 2, with the Nationals leading, 3-2, and runners on second and third with two outs, Ryan Pressly issued an intentional walk to Soto. The walk was notable for a few reasons. First of all, it was the first intentional walk by an Astros pitcher in 2019, including the regular season and postseason, certainly some measure of respect for the youngster. Second, it made Soto the second-youngest player to be intentionally walked in a World Series game. The only player younger was a 20-year, 46-day-old Claudell Washington for the A’s in Game 4 of the 1974 World Series.

Martinez on Soto being walked
Martinez on Soto being walked
Oct. 24th, 2019
7) Soto has hit cleanup in each of the first two games of the World Series — something he has done through the entire postseason. He’s the third-youngest player to start at cleanup in a World Series, behind only Cabrera, who did so six times in 2003, and Ty Cobb, who did so five times in 1907. That’s a pretty short list.

Rest of the postseason
8) Including his World Series homer, Soto has three home runs this postseason — all of which he hit before his birthday. The only player with more homers in the postseason before turning 21 is Cabrera, who hit four in 2003.

9) In the Nationals’ winner-take-all Game 5 in the NLDS at Dodger Stadium, Soto delivered with a game-tying solo homer off Clayton Kershaw in the top of the eighth, right after Anthony Rendon had gone yard. And it wasn’t just any home run — it was a Statcast-projected 449-foot homer. That’s the longest of Soto’s career, and it also helped the Nationals pull off a road win to clinch the series.

Statcast: Soto’s clutch 449-ft. HR
Statcast: Soto’s clutch 449-ft. HR
Oct. 10th, 2019
10) The fact that the home run came off Kershaw was notable, too. At 20 years and 349 days old that day, Soto was the youngest player to hit a home run off Kershaw in Kershaw’s career, including the regular season and postseason.

11) That wasn’t Soto’s only clutch moment this postseason. In the NL Wild Card Game, which the Nats trailed, 3-0, after two innings, it was Soto’s hit off Milwaukee’s Josh Hader in the bottom of the eighth that put the team ahead, in part due to Trent Grisham’s error in right field. At 20 years and 341 days old that night, Soto became the youngest player with a go-ahead hit in the eighth inning or later of a winner-take-all playoff game, according to Elias. The youngest was 21-year-old Edgar Renteria on his walk-off single for the Marlins in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.

Soto’s hit clears bases for lead
Soto’s hit clears bases for lead
Oct. 1st, 2019
Regular-season career
12) Soto finished the 2019 regular season with 56 career home runs. That’s tied with Tony Conigliaro for second most in Major League history before turning 21. The only player with more was Mel Ott, with 61.

13) Part of how Soto got to 56 career homers? His 34 this season certainly helped. Soto’s regular-season homers as a 20-year-old in 2019 were tied with Frank Robinson in 1956 for second most by a player in a season before turning 21. The only player with more was Ott, with 42 in 1929.

Soto’s 30th homer of season
Soto’s 30th homer of season
Aug. 31st, 2019
14) And of course, the other component to Soto’s 56 home runs was his 22 in 2018. Soto tied Bryce Harper in 2012 for second most by a player in a single season as a teenager. The only teen with more was Conigliaro, with 24 in 1964.

15) One aspect of the game Soto has been quite good at is maintaining plate discipline. As a 19-year-old rookie in 2018, he had a 18.3 percent chase rate, which was ninth lowest of 143 Major Leaguers to see at least 1,000 out-of-zone pitches. It went slightly up in 2019 with increased exposure — to 20.3 percent — but Soto’s rank among his peers was still outstanding. He had the 14th-lowest chase rate this year out of 146 batters to see at least 1,000 out-of-zone pitches. As a 20-year-old.

16) More evidence of that plate discipline? All of the walks he draws. Soto has 12 career regular-season games with three or more walks. That’s three more such games than any other player before turning 21 on record (since 1908).

Soto’s bases-loaded walk
Soto’s bases-loaded walk
Sep. 23rd, 2019
17) Soto walked 108 times in 2019, the second most in a season by a player 20 or younger. The only player that young with more walks in a season was Ott, with 113 in 1929. No other 20-year-old or younger had even 90 walks in a season.

18) Soto’s first start in the cleanup spot last year came on June 21, at 19 years and 239 days old. He was the youngest player to start at cleanup in a game since César Cedeño in 1970.

19) He ended up starting eight games in that spot in 2018, third most by any teenager in a single season on record. Rusty Staub started 35 games at cleanup in 1963, and Ott started 24 at that spot in 1928.

20) Soto hit two home runs at Yankee Stadium on June 13, 2018, at 19 years and 231 days old. He was the youngest player with a regular-season homer at any iteration of Yankee Stadium since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989. If we include the postseason, he was the youngest since Jones in the 1996 World Series. Either way, quite a feat.

Statcast: Soto’s 2 HRs vs. Yanks
Statcast: Soto’s 2 HRs vs. Yanks
Jun. 13th, 2018
21) The circumstances around Soto’s Major League debut on May 20, 2018, and a game he played on June 18 will pretty much always be worth recounting. Soto debuted on May 20 at Nationals Park against the Dodgers, going 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter. Pretty standard debut, not much worth talking about two years later. But five days earlier on May 15, the Nationals had been playing a game at Nationals Park against the Yankees when it began to rain. The game was suspended and set to be made up on June 18. Simultaneously on May 15, the Double-A Harrisburg Senators — Soto’s team at the time — were dealing with rain on the eastern seaboard as well. The Senators’ game at the Bowie Baysox originally scheduled for May 14 was suspended to the 15th, so they completed that game — but were unable to complete the regularly scheduled game for the 15th, which was suspended and completed on the 16th.

When a game is suspended, stats for that game count for the date of the original scheduling — in both the Minors and Majors. That’s important here.

Must C: Soto homers before debut
Must C: Soto homers before debut
Jun. 18th, 2018
Soto, still in Double-A, played in those games. In the game on the 16th — technically the second time the Senators took the field on the 16th, for the regularly scheduled game — he homered. On the same day, his team finished a game that had counted for the 15th, in which he went 3-for-4.

By the time the Nats and Yanks resumed their game in June, Soto was up with the team. Naturally, he played in the game — and, of course, he homered. If you look at any record book, he’s listed as both going 3-for-4 for Harrisburg and 1-for-2 with a homer for the Nationals on May 15 — a day when in reality, his team played only one game … and it was a resumption of a game from May 14.

Confused? It isn’t exactly simple. But the fact is this: Soto managed to hit a home run in a Major League game that counts for May 15, five days before his Major League debut of May 20. Quite the claim to fame.

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The summer of 1980 was one of the hottest summers on record. The blazing summer heat gave way to three brilliant pennant races in major league baseball. In the National League East, it took a two-run home run in the top of the 11th inning in the second to last game of the season to propel the Philadelphia Phillies, past the people’s choice, the Montreal Expos by one game. Peine d’amour in Montreal. In the National League West, the Los Angeles Dodgers went into the final series of the season needing to sweep the division leading Houston Astros, and they did just that, winning each game by one run which forced a one-game playoff. The Astros prevailed in the playoff game, 7-1, to earn the first division title in the team’s history.

In the American League East, the New York Yankees needed 103 wins to best the runner up Baltimore Orioles, who stayed home despite having the second-best record in all of baseball at 100-62. The only division that did not generate any late summer heat was the American League West, where the Royals, powered by the virtuoso performance of George Brett easily outdistanced the Oakland A’s, winning the West by a 14-game margin.

The fireworks continued into the National League Championship Series, as the Phillies advanced to the World Series for the first time since 1950 by beating the Astros three-games-to-two. Just saying it like that makes it sound pretty boring, but the truth was, this was one of the most exciting five games series ever played. Philadelphia took game one, 3-1 behind a strong performance by Steve Carlton. Houston captured Game Two with a 7-4 ten inning win. The series shifted to Houston for Game Three, which went to the Astros by the score of 1-0, as the Astros scrapped together a run in the bottom of the 11th against Tug McGraw. In Game Four, the Phillies held a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth before the Astros rallied for a single run to send the game to extra innings. The Phillies answered in the top of the tenth, with hits from Pete Rose, Greg Luzinski and Manny Trillo to stake them to a 5-3 lead. McGraw put the Astros down in order in the bottom of the 10th to tie the series at two games apiece.

The series spun on Game Five. The Phillies started Marty Bystrom, while the Astros countered with Nolan Ryan. You’d have to assume the Vegas odds-makers favored the Astros in this one. The game was tied going into the bottom of the 7th before the Astros broke loose, capitalizing on three hits, a walk and a wild pitch to push across three runs. With the score 5-2 and Nolan Ryan throwing heat, it looked bleak for the Phillies. The Philly bats woke up and chased Ryan with three singles and a walk. Then the flood gates opened. With two outs, Del Unser stroked a single to right and Manny Trillo followed with a triple into the left field gap. When the dust settled, the scoreboard read Phillies 7, Astros 5.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Astros managed to string together four singles, good for two runs and a tie ballgame. In the top of the tenth, the Phillies Del Unser hit a one out double and Garry Maddox grooved a two-out double for the RBI to put Philadelphia ahead 8-7. Dick Ruthven set the Astros down in order in the tenth to deliver the Phillies to the World Series. The series remains to this day one of the most exciting series I have ever seen.

Over on the American League side, it was déjà vu all over again. For the fourth time in five years, the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals would do battle. Game One, played at Royals Stadium, went to the Royals 7-2 behind a strong pitching performance by Larry Gura. Gura was a Yankee castoff and usually reserved his best for his former team. In this game he scattered ten hits while pitching a complete game. There was some tension early on as Rick Cerone and Lou Piniella tagged Gura for back-to-back home runs in the top of the second, giving the Yankees a quick 2-0 lead. Kansas City got one back in their half of the second on a Frank White double, which brought home Amos Otis.

The Royals took the lead in the third with Brett working Ron Guidry for a one-out walk. Amos Otis came through with a two-out ground rule double to score Brett. After intentionally walking John Wathan, Willie Mays Aiken dropped a single into left field to score Brett and Otis and give the Royals the lead. The score stayed 4-2 until Brett mashed a one-out home run off Yankee reliever Ron Davis in the 7th. The Royals added some security in the 8th when Darrel Porter reached on a two-out error. Frank White singled to left and Willie Wilson brought them both home with a double to center.


Here are your 1980 Kansas City Royals
Game Two was played Thursday evening, October 9th in Kansas City. The Yankees started left-handed Rudy May and the Royals countered with their workhorse, Dennis Leonard. May went the distance for New York and only allowed six hits. Unfortunately for him, four of them were consecutive hits in the Royals third. With one out, Porter stroked a single to right. Frank White followed with another single. Willie Wilson then delivered the big blow, a triple into the right field corner. U.L. Washington followed with a double to center, giving the Royals a 3-0 lead.

Leonard was cruising until the Yanks nicked him in the fifth. Graig Nettles, who always seemed to be a burr in the Royals saddle, hit a one-out inside the park home run. Leonard got Bucky Dent on a ground out but gave up a two out walk to some stiff named Bobby Brown. Willie Randolph, another Royal burr, made him pay when he delivered a double to right. 3-2 Kansas City. Dan Quisenberry came on to work the ninth and with two Yankees on base, induced Nettles to hit into a game ending 4-6-3 double play, much to the relief of the 42,633 partisans in attendance. Upon further review, Brown wasn’t quite the stiff I recall. He managed to stay in the league for seven seasons, getting 1,277 at bats with four teams, and delivered a .245/.295/.355 slash line.

The series shifted to New York for Game Three, which was played on Friday evening, October 10th. 56,588 fans packed into Yankee Stadium for the game and it was a classic battle of crafty lefties: Paul Splittorff against Tommy John. The Royals struck first, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth, thanks to a Frank White home run. New York answered with two runs in the bottom of the 6th. Reggie Jackson hit a one out double, chasing Splittorff. Royals manager Jim Frey went to his best reliever, calling on Quisenberry to get the final 11 outs.

It didn’t start out too promising. Oscar Gamble and Rick Cerone hit consecutive singles off Quiz to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead as the crowd roared its approval. This set the stage for perhaps one of the most famous innings in Kansas City baseball history. Tommy John got John Wathan on a ground out and set down Frank White on strikes before giving up a double to Willie Wilson. Yankee skipper Dick Howser walked to the mound and gave the ball to Goose Gossage.

The Goose was the epitome of a bad-ass reliever. Gossage stood 6’3 and sported wavy hair and a Fu Manchu mustache. His demeanor on the mound suggested a man who was perpetually pissed off and just looking at him was enough to frighten most sane people. He had a high leg kick which helped propel his fastballs toward the plate in the upper 90’s. Between 1975 and 1986, he was one of the best relievers in the game and in 1980 he was in his snarling prime.

In this game it didn’t matter. U.L. Washington coolly beat out an infield single, which brought George Brett to the plate. Watching the game on television in my parents living room, I had the feeling that the entire series hung on this at bat. George didn’t disappoint. 1980 was his year and no one could stop him. Brett knew a fastball was coming. Power vs. power, mano a mano.

George didn’t miss, depositing the ball into the upper deck of Yankee Stadium. Announcer Al Michaels said that over his entire career, this moment was the quickest transition from a loud ruckus to absolute silence that he’s ever experienced at a sporting event. Just to remind the Yankee fans and Gossage who their daddy was, Brett took 23 seconds to round the bases. Believe me, I timed it. After his leisurely stroll around the bases, Brett was mobbed by his teammates. Quisenberry worked a clean 7th, then escaped a bases loaded, no out jam in the 8th, thanks to a sweet 6-4 double play, which froze the Yankee runner at third. Howser went with Tom Underwood in the 8th, sending Gossage to the showers to search for his missing testicles. In the ninth, Quiz sat down Nettles and Brown on fly balls before getting Willie Randolph looking and the party was on.

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The postseason brings the biggest moments, the biggest heroes, and sometimes, the biggest controversies.

When there is disagreement about a key call, the higher stakes can raise tensions and create a play that sticks in the minds of players and fans for years to come. Here is a look back at some of the most notable disputed calls from the postseason.

2019 World Series Game 6: Trea Turner called out
Protecting a one-run lead in the seventh inning, the Nationals, trying to force a Game 7, were looking for insurance runs when Turner followed Yan Gomes’ leadoff single with a swinging bunt that dribbled to the left of the mound. Pitcher Brad Peacock whipped a throw to first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who had to reach toward the baseline and had his glove knocked off by Turner as he lunged for the base. Turner was called out for interfering with the fielder, which led to a lengthy discussion and a fierce argument from Nats manager Dave Martinez, who became the first manager to be ejected from a World Series since Atlanta’s Bobby Cox in Game 6 in 1996. Washington got the last laugh, however, as Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer later in the inning, as the Nationals won, 7-2. They would go on to win the series in seven games, becoming the first champion to win four road games in the World Series.

2018 American League Championship Series Game 4: Mookie Betts’ homer-robbing catch
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but it looked like the Astros might tie it in the bottom of the frame when José Altuve lifted a deep fly ball to right field at Minute Maid Park. Betts drifted back to the wall, jumped and had the ball deflect off his glove and back onto the field of play. But the ump ruled that a fan had interfered with Betts, preventing him from making the catch. Altuve was called out, a potential big inning for Houston turned into zero runs and Boston went on to win, 8-6, on the way to a championship.

Betts on fan interference call
Betts on fan interference call
Oct. 17th, 2018
2015 National League Division Series Game 2: Chase Utley’s slide
Utley was never popular with Mets fans from his days with the Phillies, but he sealed his enemy status in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium. The Mets held a one-run lead with one out in the seventh, when the Dodgers put runners on the corners with one out. Howie Kendrick hit a potential double play ball up the middle, but Utley wiped out shortstop Rubén Tejada at second with a hard slide that allowed the tying run to score in what would become a four-run inning. Tejada sustained a broken leg and the Mets were furious over the lack of an interference call for what they saw as a dirty play. The Mets lost the game, 5-2, but they came back to win the series in the decisive fifth game.

Must C: Tejada injured on slide
Must C: Tejada injured on slide
Oct. 10th, 2015
2013 World Series: The Will Middlebrooks obstruction play
The Cardinals and Red Sox had split the first two games, and Game 3 was tied entering the bottom of the ninth, when St. Louis placed runners on second and third with one out. A walk-off win looked likely, but the way it happened was anything but ordinary. Jon Jay hit a ground ball. Dustin Pedroia made a diving stop and threw out Yadier Molina at home. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia then tried to catch Allen Craig at third but threw wildly. Craig was subsequently thrown out trying to score by left fielder Daniel Nava, but the umpires called third baseman Middlebrooks for obstruction, saying he impeded Craig. The Cards won the game at home, 5-4, but the Sox captured the series in six games.

Cards walk off on obstruction
Cards walk off on obstruction
Oct. 26th, 2013
2012 NL Wild Card Game: The infield fly rule
The Braves brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the eighth when Andrelton Simmons lofted a high fly ball into no man’s land in shallow left. Shortstop Pete Kozma ranged well into the outfield grass, but the ball fell between he and left fielder Matt Holliday — seemingly loading the bases for Atlanta. But the left-field umpire made a delayed infield fly call, deeming that Kozma had time to settle under the ball to strand runners at second and third base and put another out on the board.

The game was delayed 19 minutes as the Braves argued the call and fans at Turner Field began throwing debris onto the field. Atlanta was ultimately unable to score in the inning, and St. Louis went on to claim the winner-take-all contest, 6-3.

Umps rule infield fly on popup
Umps rule infield fly on popup
Oct. 5th, 2012
2007 NL West tiebreaker: Matt Holliday’s slide
This wasn’t technically a postseason game, but we’ll count it here since it was an elimination game. The NL West came down to a Game 163 in 2007, and that game came down to one very momentous play. The Padres carried an 8-6 lead over the Rockies to the bottom of the 13th at Coors Field before Colorado tied it with three straight extra-base hits off future Hall of Fame closer Trevor Hoffman. Todd Helton took an intentional walk and then Jamey Carroll hit a liner to right with Holliday on third. Holliday tagged and sprinted home and seemingly beat the tag, except replay would show that he may not have touched home plate.

Holliday didn’t go back to touch home before the Rockies celebrated, and Padres fans still maintain that he never touched the bag. Colorado moved on to the postseason and eventually the World Series with the 9-8 win, while San Diego’s season came to an end.

Holliday safe at home
Holliday safe at home
Oct. 1st, 2007
2005 ALCS Game 2: A.J. Pierzynski and the dropped third strike
The White Sox, on their way to a championship, were tied with the Angels, 1-1, in the ninth inning and down a game in the series. With two outs, it appeared that Pierzynski whiffed on a low pitch from Kelvim Escobar to send the game into extras. But as the Halos ran off the field, Pierzynski ran to first base as if there was a dropped third strike, reaching easily. Home-plate umpire Doug Eddings agreed — to the Angels’ dismay — as they believed catcher Josh Paul snagged the pitch cleanly. Once play resumed, Pablo Ozuna ran for Pierzynski, stole second and scored on Joe Crede’s walk-off double for a 2-1 victory. The White Sox would go on to win their first World Series since 1917.

White Sox wild rally in 9th
White Sox wild rally in 9th
Oct. 12th, 2005
2004 ALCS Game 6: A-Rod’s glove swat
There were plenty of iconic moments in the Red Sox’s historic comeback in the 2004 ALCS — Dave Roberts’ steal, David Ortiz’s walk-offs and Curt Schilling’s bloody sock — but Alex Rodriguez’s glove swat takes the title of most disputed. In the eighth inning of Game 6 at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox were trying to hold on to force Game 7, but the Yankees had just pulled to within 4-2 on Derek Jeter’s RBI single. Rodriguez, the tying run, stepped to the plate against Bronson Arroyo … and squibbed a slow grounder to the right side of the infield. Arroyo came off the mound to field the ball and raced over to tag Rodriguez, who swatted at Arroyo’s glove, knocking the ball free and down the right-field line, allowing Jeter to come all the way around to score.

But wait! After Red Sox manager Terry Francona came out to argue and a long discussion by the umpires, A-Rod was called out for interference and Jeter sent back to first. Yanks fans were incensed, and Rodriguez and manager Joe Torre argued the call to no avail. The Red Sox went on to win the game, 4-2, complete their comeback in Game 7 and eventually end an 86-year title drought.

A-Rod slaps ball from Arroyo
A-Rod slaps ball from Arroyo
Oct. 19th, 2004
1999 ALCS Game 4: Chuck Knoblauch’s phantom tag
This was Red Sox vs. Yankees at Fenway Park, so the atmosphere was already tense. With the Yanks holding onto a 3-2 lead with one out in the eighth, Jose Offerman appeared to beat out a double play with Mariano Rivera on the mound, but he was called out due to what the umpires deemed to be a tag between first and second base by Knoblauch, the Yankees’ second baseman. But a closer look revealed that Knoblauch never touched Offerman, missing him by a wide margin before throwing to first for the “second out.”

The Yanks scored six runs in the ninth for a 9-2 victory before clinching the series the next day en route to their second of three consecutive World Series crowns.

Knoblauch’s ‘phantom’ tag
Knoblauch’s ‘phantom’ tag
Oct. 17th, 1999
1998 ALCS Game 2: Knoblauch argues a call mid-play
Game 2 stretched into the 12th inning at Yankee Stadium when Cleveland’s Travis Fryman laid down a bunt. Yankees reliever Jeff Nelson threw the ball to first, but it hit Fryman with the ball. Knoblauch, covering first, pointed toward the baseline to argue that Fryman had gotten in the way, but the play was not ruled dead and the Indians kept running, with Enrique Wilson coming around to score from first.

Torre came out to argue the play, and the umpires conferred for several minutes before maintaining their call. Cleveland tacked on two more runs and evened the series at one game apiece in a 4-1 win, but New York took the series in six and the World Series.

Knoblauch’s miscue at first
Knoblauch’s miscue at first
Oct. 7th, 1998
1996 ALCS Game 1: Jeffrey Maier aids Derek Jeter
The first championship run of the Yankees’ 1990s dynasty was not without controversy. Baltimore led New York, 4-3, in the bottom of the eighth inning in Game 1 when Jeter hit a hard fly ball to the right-field fence. It looked as though Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco could have caught the ball, but Yankees fan Maier reached out and tried to glove the ball before it bounced into the stands. Tarasco argued for fan interference, but it was not given. The Yanks went on to win the game, 5-4, in 11 innings before going on to capture the series and their first championship in 18 years.

Jeter’s Maier-assisted home run
Jeter’s Maier-assisted home run
May 2nd, 2017
1991 World Series Game 2: Kent Hrbek moves Ron Gant
A Series ultimately remembered for the duel between Jack Morris and John Smoltz in Game 7 also had a wild moment earlier on. The Twins held a 2-1 lead in the third inning at the Metrodome when Gant hit a two-out single to left field, sending Lonnie Smith to third. Dan Gladden’s throw got away, but pitcher Kevin Tapani was backing up the play and fired to first to try to catch Gant. While Gant made it back in time, Hrbek “helped” him come off first base by lifting his leg. Gant was ruled out, and Minnesota went on to win the game, 3-2, and the series in seven.

Hrbek lifts Gant off bag
Hrbek lifts Gant off bag
Oct. 20th, 1991
1986 NLCS Game 3: Wally Backman’s bunt single
With the series tied, the Mets trailed the Astros by a run entering the bottom of the ninth at Shea Stadium. New York’s Backman led off against Houston’s Dave Smith by bunting up the first-base line. First baseman Glenn Davis fielded the ball and tried to tag Backman, who avoided him but in doing so appeared to swerve out of the baseline to the outside before diving headfirst into the bag. The Astros argued that Backman should have been called out, but to no avail. Later in the inning, Lenny Dykstra hit a walk-off homer for the 6-5 victory, and the Mets went on to win the NLCS and a ring.

Backman leads off 9th with bunt
Backman leads off 9th with bunt
Oct. 11th, 1986
1985 World Series Game 6: Don Denkinger misses call at first base
Three outs away from a World Series title, the Cardinals held a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth at Royals Stadium. Jorge Orta led off the inning with a ground ball wide of first that first baseman Jack Clark went over to field as pitcher Todd Worrell ran over to cover the bag. Clark tossed to first, and it appeared Worrell caught the ball and got his foot to the bag before Orta reached it. But first-base umpire Denkinger ruled Orta safe.

The next batter, Steve Balboni, singled to left and was pinch-run for. Jim Sundberg laid down a sacrifice bunt attempt, but Worrell got the lead out at third. A passed ball moved runners to second and third before Worrell intentionally walked Hal McRae. Pinch-hitter Dane Iorg followed with a two-run walk-off single. The Royals got a gem from Bret Saberhagen the next night as Kansas City won the World Series.

“The object is to get the call right,” Denkinger said in 2014. “That’s a good thing. So I’m all for review. And if they had it back then, probably nobody would ever know my name.”

Denkinger’s missed call
Denkinger’s missed call
Oct. 26th, 1985
1978 World Series Game 4: Ball deflects off Reggie
The Yankees and Dodgers were facing off in their second straight World Series and Reggie Jackson — the man who put himself into the history books with his three-homer game against L.A. the year before — was at the center of another big play. The Dodgers led, 3-1, in the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium when Lou Piniella hit a liner to shortstop Bill Russell, who dropped the ball but picked it up quickly and stepped on second for a forceout. Russell pivoted and threw to first for a potential double play, but Jackson, running from first to second, stuck out his hip and deflected the throw into the outfield. Thurman Munson came around to score, bringing the Yanks within a run.

Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda vehemently argued with the umpires, but the play stood. The Yankees eventually won, 4-3, in 10 innings and took home their second straight World Series crown.

Reggie’s hip deflects throw
Reggie’s hip deflects throw
Oct. 14th, 1978
1969 World Series Game 5: The shoe polish play
The “Miracle Mets” were trying to clinch their first championship, and they might have gotten some help in that quest. In the top of the sixth at Shea Stadium, home-plate umpire Lou DiMuro did not agree with the Orioles’ assertion that Jerry Koosman had hit Frank Robinson with a pitch. Robinson struck out, and the O’s did not extend their 3-0 lead. In the next half inning, Dave McNally threw a low and inside pitch to leadoff man Cleon Jones, who thought he’d been hit. Again, DiMuro disagreed. But then Mets manager Gil Hodges emerged from the dugout and showed the umpire the black-smudged ball — evidence, he said, that it hit Jones’ shoe.

DiMuro changed his mind, and Jones went to first. Donn Clendenon immediately hit a two-run homer that spurred a rally. The Mets won, 5-3, and completed their unlikely ascent.