Path to the ALCS: Kansas City (97-65) won the AL West by 14 games; New York (103-59) won the AL East by three games
The Royals, in their 12th season, broke through for their first AL pennant -- sweeping a Yankees club that had denied them three straight times in the ALCS, from 1976-78. Not surprisingly, it was George Brett who led Kansas City into the Fall Classic. He had flirted with .400 late in the season, finishing at .390, and he provided the big hit that would clinch the pennant in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium: A three-run blast off fellow future Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, erasing a 2-1 Yankees lead in a 4-2 win. It was Brett's second home run of the series.