Who would win a head-to-head series: The 1985 Royals or the 1986 Mets?
Who would win: The '85 Royals or the '86 Mets?
It has been 30 years since the Royals won the World Series. The Mets haven't won in 29 years. Set only a year apart, the 1985 and 1986 championship teams are spoken of with reverence and represent the pinnacle of fandom for many Kansas City and New York supporters. So it's only natural that ahead of this year's World Series matchup, everyone (seriously, everyone) would be asking the same question: Who would win a best-of-seven series against each other, the '85 Royals or '86 Mets?
There are a few ways we could figure that out. We could assess team statistics in the World Series ...
Royals batting: .288/.366/.381, 2 HR, 28 BB, 56 K, 7 SB
Royals pitching: 1.89 ERA, .935 WHIP, 18 BB, 42 K
Mets batting: .271/.330/.383, 7 HR, 21 BB, 43 K, 7 SB
Mets pitching: 3.29 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 28 BB, 53 K
... which seem to give a slight advantage to the Royals.
Or, we could compare the best players on each team ...
George Brett (8.3 WAR) was the Royals' best hitter, while Brett Saberhagen (7.3 WAR) was the team's ace (though Charlie Leibrandt was no slouch, either). The Mets had Keith Hernandez (5.5 WAR) and Ron Darling (4.3 WAR) leading the way in '86, while Doc Gooden (a year after his Cy Young Award) and Gary Carter ranked fifth and sixth. Again -- pretty even.
Or we could look at how each championship was covered in the media:
The New York Times called the Royals' Game 7 win "a debacle, an 11-0 blowout by the Kansas City Royals" while the Mets' Series went from "UNHAPPY END LOOMS OVER SUPERB SEASON" to "Theirs became a triumph of character as well as athletic skill" in a matter of days.
Why are we overthinking this? Both teams played seven-game series, both teams had home-field advantage and yet dropped the first two games of the series before winning Game 3 and both teams scored roughly 30 runs over the course of the whole thing. So why don't we just look at the scores of each World Series game? Let's just transpose the '85 Royals and '86 Mets across space and time, assume each team would score the same number of runs in each individual game and then see who would win four first.
Game 1: Royals (1), Mets (0)
Game 2: Mets (3), Royals (2)
Game 3: Mets (7), Royals (6)
Game 4: Mets (6), Royals (0)
Game 5: Royals (6), Mets (2)
Game 6: Mets (6), Royals (2)
The Series wouldn't even get to a Game 7 (which the Royals would win, 11-8, for those interested) as the Mets take it, four games to two. Half of the games would be one-run games, and half would be not-so-close.
But this isn't taking into account the differences in opponents each team faced, or the random acts of our chaotic universe. So really, the only way to figure out who would win is for you to let us know who you think would win in a time traveling World Series. Vote below: