Willie Aikens made a splash in the 1980 World Series. He hit two home runs in Game One, his first World Series game, and had another two-homer game later in the Series. Aikens had his best season in 1980 (20 HR, 98 RBI, .281 average) for the Royals, but played through the 1985 before drug issues helped to curtail his talent and push him out of the game.
|From The October
15, 1980 edition of The Doylestown Daily Intelligencer:
Aikens Wants Repeat Performance
United Press International
PHILADELPHIA (UPI) - Willie Aikens believes in thinking positively.
It wasn t enough for him to hit a pair of two-run homers in the Kansas Ciiy Royals' 7-6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in the opening game of ihe World Series Tuesday night. No, the 26-year-old first baseman wants lo do it again tonight.
"Anytime a guy hits two home runs he feels good about his play." said Aikens. who hit the homers on his 26lh birthday. "I'm sorry we lost. I hope I can hit some tomorrow."
Aikens. a native of Seneca. S. C . may find it a little difficult doing that. It's hard enough to hit two home runs m a game, but it's even more difficult to do it against ace left-hander Steve Carlton. And that's exactly who the Royals will be facing tonight.
"Steve Carlton is as capable of losing a game as anyone else," Aikens declared.
The only trouble is the figures don't quite support Aikens' contention Cariton is as stingy with runs as he is with words, going 24-9 during the regular season with a 2.34 ERA.
"I sure would hate to think ue would be down 2-0 after two games." said Aikens. "But even if we were we would be going home and we'd still have a chance to win the series. But I sure hope that doesn t happen."
Aikens hit one two-run homer tohelp give Kansas City an early 4-0 lead and later hit another to pull Kansas City to within 7-6. He played like a man who appreciates being in the playoffs. Perhaps because he helped the California Angels get into last year's playoffs, but missed them because of an injury.
"How else could I feel but down," he said. "The team lost and I was disapointed that I couldn't play."
Aikens became only the second player in Worid Series history to hit two home runs in his first World Series game. Gene Tenace, then of the Oakland A's, accomplished the feat exactly eight years ago on Oct. 14. 1972.