Today in Royals History: April 8

Jamie Squire

Birth of a franchise.

Some nice symmetry today with the Twins in town for the home opener.

After being without baseball in 1968, the American League returned to Kansas City on April 7, 1969 with a visit from the Twins.

It took the Royals just two batters to score the first run in franchise history. Lou Piniella, acquired just a week before from the Seattle Pilots for John Gelnar and Steve Whittaker, led off with a double. He was brought home with a Jerry Adair single to left.

Graig Nettles tied the game in the top of the second with a home run. The game remained tied until the sixth when the Twins scored twice. It could have been a much bigger inning, but in the spirit of the 2012 Royals, Minnesota made two outs on the bases that inning.

The Royals countered in their half of the inning with a two out rally. Ellie Rodriguez started the action with a double. Jackie Hernandez reached on an error. Pinch hitter Jim Campanis singled home Rodriguez. Then Piniella, in the midst of a four hit day, singled to drive home Hernandez to tie the game.

The game remained tied into the twelfth inning. With one out, Joe Foy hit a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. The Twins intentionally walked first baseman Chuck Harrison to keep the double play in order. Plans don't always work and with Bob Oliver at the plate, another ball to the backstop - this time a wild pitch - allowed the runners to advance. Another intentional walk to load the bases and Twins manager Billy Martin went to his bullpen for right-hander Dick Woodson. With right handed hitting catcher Rodriguez due up, Royals skipper Joe Gordon countered with Joe Keough, a lefty.

With the outfield pulled in, Keough delivered a hit over the head of right fielder Tony Oliva for the game winner.

Batting AB R H RBI BB SO BA OPS WPA aLI WPA+ WPA- RE24 PO A
Lou Piniella CF 5 1 4 1 1 0 .800 1.833 0.360 1.64 0.415 -0.054 2.6 3 0 2B
Jerry Adair 2B 5 0 2 1 0 0 .400 .800 -0.033 1.79 0.137 -0.170 0.3 2 5 SH
Ed Kirkpatrick LF 6 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 -0.370 2.05 0.000 -0.370 -2.6 3 0
Joe Foy 3B 6 1 1 0 0 1 .167 .333 0.016 2.25 0.256 -0.240 -0.8 3 7
Chuck Harrison 1B 5 0 1 0 1 0 .200 .533 -0.051 1.57 0.063 -0.114 -0.4 15 3 IW
Bob Oliver RF 5 0 1 0 1 0 .200 .533 -0.111 1.75 0.030 -0.141 -0.3 3 1 IW
Ellie Rodriguez C 5 1 1 0 0 0 .200 .600 -0.122 1.33 0.031 -0.153 -0.6 3 1 2B
Joe Keough PH 1 0 1 1 0 0 1.000 2.000 0.171 5.83 0.171 0.000 1.0
Jackie Hernandez SS 5 1 1 0 0 0 .200 .400 -0.074 1.32 0.041 -0.115 -0.3 3 3
Wally Bunker P 2 0 1 0 0 1 .500 1.500 0.062 1.01 0.085 -0.023 0.4 1 0 2B
Tom Burgmeier P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.00 0.000 0.000 0.0 0 1
Jim Campanis PH 1 0 1 1 0 0 1.000 2.000 0.128 2.71 0.128 0.000 0.9
Pat Kelly PR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.00 0.000 0.000 0.0
Dave Wickersham P 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 -0.024 0.99 0.000 -0.024 -0.1 0 0
Hawk Taylor PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 -0.041 1.71 0.000 -0.041 -0.1
Moe Drabowsky P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.00 0.000 0.000 0.0 0 0
Team Totals 48 4 14 4 3 3 .292 .687 -0.089 1.81 1.357 -1.445 0.1 36 21

Paid attendance was just 17,668 at Municipal Stadium. Not much, but it was a different type of event back then. The club averaged 11,073 in 1969. Although the team did have a season ticket base of at least 6,334, which was an American League record. They wouldn't average more than 12,000 a year until they moved to Royals Stadium.

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