This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: May 16

The Royals had an off-day, traveling to Omaha for an exhibition game against their Class AAA affiliate. That game would be played before the Royals headed to Chicago for two games with the surprising White Sox. 

The Southsiders were in second place in the AL West with a 20-12 record, 1.5 games out of first place, after posting the second-worst record in baseball in 1976. That was mostly due to an impressive offensive display; Chicago was second in the AL with 180 runs scored, one run behind Minnesota. First baseman Jim Spencer, DH Oscar Gamble, and the outfield trio of Ralph Garr, Chet Lemon, and Richie Zisk were all hitting well in the early part of the season.

One Royals player got some good news on the day off. Pitcher Jim Colborn, who threw a no-hitter on May 14, was named the AL Player of the Week. He was the second Royal to receive the honor this season, after Hal McRae got the award in April.

1977 news: In a horrific incident in New York City, a helicopter used for commuting between downtown Manhattan and John F. Kennedy airport collapsed on its side after landing on the helipad atop the Pan Am (now Met Life) building. A large rotor blade snapped off the helicopter, hitting and instantly killing three people waiting to board. Another person later died from their injuries, and a fifth person was killed at ground level by a falling piece of the blade. Eight people were also injured. The helicopter service had only resumed in February after a 10-year hiatus. Investigators later determined the helicopter’s landing gear had collapsed, likely due to metal fatigue.

Today’s birthday: Heath Fillmyer (1994)

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