DYK: Royals' 1st-ever AL Central title
With their 10-4 win over the Mariners and the Twins' 6-3 loss to the Indians on Thursday night, the Royals clinched the American League Central championship.
The Royals weren't the first team to wrap up a playoff spot this year -- the Cardinals and Pirates already punched their postseason tickets -- but they were the first to clinch a division title. And it's not something Kansas City will take for granted, because it's been a while -- 30 years, in fact.
Here are some facts and figures regarding the Royals' first division championship since 1985.
• This is the Royals' first-ever AL Central championship. Their last division title was 1985, when they finished first out of seven teams in the AL West. That team went 91-71 and eventually won Kansas City's lone World Series title.
• Of teams that have won a division title, the Royals' 29-season drought was the longest active streak in baseball by seven years. The Pirates haven't won a division title since winning the National League East in 1992, and the Blue Jays haven't captured a division title since 1993.
• Twenty players on the Royals' active roster -- including starter Johnny Cueto, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and first baseman Eric Hosmer -- were born after October 1985, the end of their last division-title run. The rest: Scott Alexander, Miguel Almonte, Louis Coleman, Danny Duffy, Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland, Michael Mariot, Franklin Morales, Yordano Ventura, Francisco Pena, Salvador Perez, Christian Colon, Cheslor Cuthbert, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Terrance Gore, Paulo Orlando.
• Here are the 16 players on the Royals' active roster born in or before October 1985: Joba Chamberlain, Wade Davis, Jeremy Guthrie, Luke Hochevar, Ryan Madson, Kris Medlen, Edinson Volquez, Chris Young, Drew Butera, Omar Infante, Ben Zobrist, Jarrod Dyson, Jonny Gomes, Alex Gordon, Alex Rios, Kendrys Morales.
• The Royals fell just short of matching the longest division-title drought in baseball. The Expos/Nationals went from 1981 until 2012 without winning the NL East.
• The new list of teams that haven't won a division title in the Wild Card Era (since 1994): Blue Jays, Pirates, Marlins, Rockies.
• The following teams now own the longest streak without having won a division title, dating back to 1993: the Pirates, Marlins and Rockies. The Marlins and Rockies began playing in 1993, so the Pirates technically own the longest active streak between division titles.
• With 89 victories, the Royals have already tied their win total from last season. They are on pace to win 94 games, their most since winning 97 games in 1980.
• The oldest active player currently in the Majors, 42-year-old Blue Jays reliever LaTroy Hawkins, was 10 years away from starting his big league career the last time the Royals won a division title. He was 12 years old. Alex Rodriguez was 10.
• 1985 was also the last year of Royals manager Ned Yost's Major League playing career. At age 30, he hit .182 in five games for the Montreal Expos. He went on to play two more seasons in the Minors.
• The 1985 Royals rotation included Bret Saberhagen and former Padres manager Bud Black. George Brett led the lineup with a .335 average and 1.022 OPS, 30 homers and 112 RBIs, 103 walks and only 49 strikeouts.
• For the sake of comparison, the NFL's Cleveland Browns haven't won a division title since 1989, the longest active drought in the NFL. The NBA's Washington Wizards haven't won a division championship since 1978-79, a 36-year drought.