It took the Kansas City Royals five years to return to the World Series, and win it, after falling to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980. But did you know it took the Royals less than one offseason to avenge their defeat in '80 by whooping the Fightins on the "Family Feud" game show?
The 22 glorious minutes of video feature host Richard Dawson at his most snarky, slugger Mike Schmidt at his most clueless and a John Wayne-impersonating John Wathan coming through with perhaps the biggest fast-money comeback in show history. Through it all, the Royals and Phillies cemented their respective places in pop culture history by playin' the Feud.
• Dan Quisenberry trying to gift chewing tobacco to Dawson.
• Willie Wilson sucking on a lollipop like he was freakin' Kojak.
• Schmidt going 0 for 3 with answers — and never coming close — but providing amusing reparte with Dawson along the way, even asking the host to "gimme a hint" at one point. Still, not quite NL MVP caliber.
• Dawson trying to ingratiate himself to the black players in each lineup by offering a "My man!" to Garry Maddox of the Phillies and attempting a down-with-the-street handshake with Wilson. Solid!
K.C. also sent left-hander Paul Splittorff and right-hander Dennis Leonard to play. But no George Brett, no Frank White, no Hal McRae. And they could have used 'em.
The Phillies apparently had been killing the Royals in the previous contests, winning the first three meetings to come away with $20,796 for the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic (which still exists today, in a different form). In addition to Schmidt and Maddox, the Phillies played shortstop Larry Bowa, pinch hitter Del Unser and right-hander Dick Ruthven (who battled Leonard for beardiest pitcher on the Feud).
Tug McGraw in 1993 (AP)Who else did I want to see? Lonnie Smith, for his sideburns, and Tug McGraw. He would have been a natural foil for Dawson. Pete Rose would have been too much to ask. Can you imagine him and Dawson on the same stage?
Conversely, the Royals had accumulated just $1,422 to divide between a scholarship fund for the University of Missouri (Dawson slurred the name too much to identify the specific scholarship name), along with the Kansas City chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. But the Royals got off to a fast start and led 275-0 before they tried letting the Phillies back in. However, when Philly couldn't answer: "Name a complaint that landlords are always hearing" with either "The rent is too high" or "The heat is too low," the Royals stole and were set to play fast money.
For some reason, one of the players sent to play was Wathan, who was 1 for 6 in the preliminary rounds. But he blitzed the fast-money round, coming up with several No. 1 answers to take it all by himself, including — "Beside white, name a color of bedsheet." A: "Blue" — to put the Royals over the top. He was impressive with the game on the line.
Here's the final box score:
The only question remaining: What happened in the next game?
Big BLS H/N: @Royal_Heritage