Labor Day. Many people recognize this as the end of summer. The Boys Of Summer in Kansas City may very well feel the same. With a loss today and a Tigers win, the Royals will find themselves mathematically eliminated from winning the American League Central division, putting an official end to a race they have not been a part of for months.
The strike shortened season of 1994 would see the Royals finish the closest to first place that they ever have since the installation of six divisions in baseball. They would be eliminated from competition on August 7th due to the strike, but they were only four games back when the season came to a close on August 10.
Despite a losing season in 1995, the Royals would finish second in the American League Central. That may be just a bit deceiving however as the team finished 30 games behind the Cleveland Indians and would find themselves mathematically eliminated on September 8th. It would not be the smallest margin they would trail by, but it would be the highest finish they would enjoy since then.
Looking back across the dates, the research shows that the Royals have faded over the last 17 years fairly early. Below you will see the date that the boys in blue found themselves aware that it would be impossible for them to find post-season baseball.
|Year||Division Winner||Record||Place||Final Games Back||Date Eliminated|
|1994||Chicago White Sox||64-51||3rd||4||August 7|
|1995||Cleveland Indians||70-74||2nd||30||September 8|
|1996||Cleveland Indians||75-86||5th||24||September 7|
|1997||Cleveland Indians||67-94||5th||19||September 12|
|1998||Cleveland Indians||72-89||3rd||16.5||September 14|
|1999||Cleveland Indians||64-97||4th||32.5||August 31|
|2000||Chicago White Sox||77-85||4th||18||September 11|
|2001||Cleveland Indians||65-97||5th||26||September 5|
|2002||Minnesota Twins||62-100||4th||32.5||September 2|
|2003||Minnesota Twins||83-79||3rd||7||September 23|
|2004||Minnesota Twins||58-104||5th||34||September 4|
|2005||Chicago White Sox||56-106||5th||43||August 26|
|2006||Minnesota Twins||62-100||5th||34||August 22|
|2007||Cleveland Indians||69-93||5th||27||September 9|
|2008||Chicago White Sox||75-87||4th||13.5||September 10|
|2009||Minnesota Twins||65-97||4th||21.5||September 13|
|2010||Minnesota Twins||67-95||5th||27||September 7|
Only one time in the last 17 seasons have the Royals found themselves in the hunt past the second week of September. With the young guns on the horizon, that may finally change. Maybe then the Kansas City area can find more to celebrate than the beginning of football season.