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Royals legend George Brett recalls how Yankees star protected him during famous brawl

A documentary about Hall of Fame Royals third baseman George Brett will debut on Thursday evening and it appears to be chock full of great moments.

We’ve already seen Brett’s three-word response to Cardinals fans who still hold a grudge about the 1985 World Series. And there’s also a great moment about the 1977 American League Championship Series.

If you were to pick the most gut-wrenching game in Royals history, it would have to be Game 5 of the ALCS.

The Royals’ 102 victories were the most in Major League Baseball that season and they had a 16-game winning streak. At one point they won 24 of 25 games.

They had a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series and had two chances to close out the American League pennant at Royals Stadium. After losing Game 4, the Royals took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning of Game 5 but gave up three runs and lost.

That Game 5 included a huge brawl in the first inning, something that you rarely see today*. Hal McRae singled with out one and Brett followed with a triple. When sliding into third base, Brett’s momentum carried him into the Yankees’ Graig Nettles.

*José Ramírez’s KO of Tim Anderson is an exception

That irked Nettles, who kicked Brett in the mouth. Brett got up swinging, triggering a bench-clearing fracas.

Viewers will see that in the documentary, which is called “Brett,” and he discussed how a Yankees player actually helped protect him.

“Thurman Munson comes up, and he’s one of the first guys in the pile,” Brett recalled. “But I’ll never forget this: he’s laying on top of me, shielding me. He said, ‘George, it’s Thurman. I got you covered. No one’s gonna take any pot shots at you.’

“How cool was that?”

Munson, who was one of the greatest catchers of his generation, died tragically when a plane he was piloting crashed in August 1979. He was an MVP, three-time Gold Glove winner and apparently a good guy.

The documentary will air at 7 p.m. Thursday night on the MLB Network.