This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: June 9

The Royals were scheduled to begin a three-game series in Cleveland, but the first game was rained out. It was rescheduled to be part of a doubleheader on June 11.

With the minor-league season well underway, this seems like a good chance to check in with the Royals’ farm system, with some help from The Sporting News, which compiled these numbers through June 8. At Class AAA, the Omaha Royals were foundering in third place in the American Association’s four-team Western Division. At 25-30, they were 14.5 games behind Denver (the Expos’ top affiliate). Omaha was led offensively by outfielder Danny Garcia (hitting .391), middle infielder Tim Ireland (.356), and first baseman Ken Phelps (.323 with 10 home runs). Relievers Jeff Twitty and Randy McGilberry had the best ERAs, at 1.63 and 1.78, respectively. Twitty also led the team in wins with four.

The news wasn’t much better for Class AA Jacksonville, which found itself in fourth place out of five teams in the Southern League’s East Division with a 26-32 mark. Shortstop Onix Concepcion was having a good season, with a .325 average and seven home runs. Outfielder Dennis Webb had a .318 mark. The Suns had a couple of other names who would become familiar to Royals fans: outfielders Darryl Motley and Pat Sheridan.

Kansas City had two Class A teams in 1980. Fort Myers was also below .500, at 27-33. That put them at fourth in the five-team South Division in the Florida State League. In the South Division of the South Atlantic League, Charleston was the only affiliate with a winning record. And they barely qualified, at 29-28. That was good for second place in the division, just one game behind Spartanburg (a Phillies farm team).

Today’s birthdays: None

1980 sports news: in the NBA draft, the Golden State Warriors took Joe Barry Carroll from Purdue with the first overall pick. Utah followed with the selection of Darrell Griffith from Louisville. Both would regret passing on Kevin McHale, the third pick, chosen by Boston out of Minnesota. Picking 16th, the Kansas City Kings chose guard Hawkeye Whitney from North Carolina State. Whitney scored just 404 points for the Kings over two injury-plagued seasons. With the very next pick, Detroit took Missouri’s Larry Drew. The Kings would rectify that mistake by trading two picks to the Pistons in 1981 for Drew, who would play in KC until the Kings moved to Sacramento.

1980 news alert: At his home in Los Angeles, comedian Richard Pryor, in the midst of a cocaine binge, douses himself in rum and then sets himself on fire. Pryor later admitted that the incident was actually an attempted suicide. He suffered second- and third-degree burns over half his body. Doctors gave him a 33% chance of surviving, but after six weeks in the hospital, Pryor was released.

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