This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: March 28

The Royals squeaked by Atlanta in a 2-0 pitchers’ duel in West Palm Beach.

Kansas City starter Andy Hassler allowed just five hits in six innings. He finished his outing with a 13-inning scoreless streak. Meanwhile, Braves starter Andy Messersmith was every bit as good. He allowed four hits in six innings, striking out seven.

However, U L Washington was able to double off Messersmith in the second inning, driving in Cookie Rojas. The Royals added another run in the eighth when Al Cowens scored on a two-base error.

Kansas City improved to 12-8 in spring training games with the victory.

Off the field, George Brett was held out of action with a back ailment. Team officials believed it to be a minor lumbar strain. And outfielder Tom Poquette was suffering from a viral infection and expected to miss a week. Poquette had complained of chest pains and doctors determined they were a byproduct of the infection.

1977 baseball news: A shocking event happened in Orlando, where the Texas Rangers were set to take on the Minnesota Twins. Before the game started, second baseman Lenny Randle walked up to manager Frank Lucchesi on the field and, after a short argument, decked the skipper with one punch. Randle then kept punching his 50-year-old manager until he was restrained by teammates. Randle was upset that he was being benched for rookie Bump Wills, and that Lucchesi had referred to him as a “punk” in the media. Lucchesi ended up in the hospital with a concussion and a broken jaw. Randle, unsurprisingly, was suspended immediately by the Rangers (30 days without pay) and fined $10,000. He would be traded to the Mets before his suspension was up.

1977 sports news: In Atlanta, Marquette captured the NCAA basketball title with a 67-59 win over North Carolina. Coach Al McGuire had announced that he would retire after the season; the win was the 404th of his career and 295th at Marquette. Although his plan was to move into the business world, he would move into a role as a TV commentator less than two years later. He would reach the Basketball Hall of Fame due to his success in both roles.

1977 entertainment news: In the culmination of a true underdog story, Rocky won the Oscar for Best Picture at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Sylvester Stallone’s script about a small-time club fighter had been turned into a movie on less than a $1 million budget, but became the highest-grossing film of 1976. Rocky earned 10 Oscar nominations, although it only won three (Best Picture, Best Director for John G. Avildsen, and Best Editing). In other Oscar news, Peter Finch became the first posthumous winner in the Academy’s history, for his performance in Network; Finch had died from a heart attack in January. Network and All The President’s Men each won four Oscars.

Today’s birthday: Craig Paquette (1969)

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