This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: May 21

A ninth-inning rally tied the game for the Royals, but they ultimately lost to Oakland, 4-2, in 14 innings on a Wednesday night at Royals Stadium.

Just like they did two nights earlier, the Royals came to the plate in the ninth down to their last three outs and facing a multiple-run deficit, this time a 2-0 one. And just like they did in that game, the Royals tied it up. Facing A’s starter Brian Kingman, who had baffled Kansas City for eight innings, Willie Aikens led off with a double. Reliever Jeff Jones entered the game, but John Wathan greeted him with a single, with Aikens stopping at third. Jamie Quirk bunted, trying to move Wathan to second, but wound up safe when Oakland first baseman Jeff Newman was called for interference as he tried to field the ball and Quirk ran into him. Jones struck out Frank White, and Bob Lacey took over on the mound. Dave Chalk doubled to drive in two runs and tie the game, but the Royals could not push the winning run across. Willie Wilson lined out and U.L. Washington flied out, and it was on to extra innings.

The score was still tied after 13 innings when Dan Quisenberry took over on the mound, with starter Larry Gura finally leaving the game after allowing 12 hits and two walks, while picking up six strikeouts. Quisenberry got the first batter out but made a mistake when he walked Rickey Henderson, who promptly stole second. The Royals intentionally walked Dwayne Murphy but Tony Armas foiled the strategy with an RBI single. After a fielder’s choice, with Murphy being thrown out at home, Wayne Gross singled for the second run of the inning. Lacey pitched a perfect ninth to seal the win, his first of the season and a well-deserved one after giving up just three hits in 5 ⅔ innings.

The Royals fell to 20-16 with the loss. They stayed in second place in the AL West, one game behind Chicago.

George Brett watch: 0-6! Brett was now 3-22 in his last five games. Hmmm. Season stats: .247/.340/.462

Box score and play-by-play:

1980 baseball news: With a strike deadline just hours away, both sides appeared pessimistic about reaching a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement. Players union executive director Marvin Miller said, “Games Thursday night will be completed. The strike begins May 23. Nothing changes that except an agreement.” Federal mediator Kenneth Moffett said, “Unless there is a complete change of heart, we’re headed pell mell for a strike. We’re in deep trouble…it sounded to me as if we were a month away from a deadline instead of 30 hours.” With the Memorial Day weekend (and its usual large crowds) coming up, teams were making plans to refund ticket money.

1980 news: I hope no one went to the Royals game, since it lasted more than four hours, with plans to go to the movies after and see the day’s new release, a little movie you may have heard of: The Empire Strikes Back. The second film in the Star Wars trilogy (well, the first trilogy) had premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, on May 17, but May 21 was its first day in wider release, with 126 70 mm prints being shown. Rather incredibly, the film would have an even wider release in June, expanding to 824 screens. Kind of hard to imagine a studio playing it like that today. Anyway, Empire became the year’s highest grossing movie.

Today’s birthday: Mark Quinn (1974)

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