Today in Royals History: Lou joins the expansion Royals

Louuuuuu. - Andy Lyons

April 1, 1969.

Before the expansion Royals played their first game, general manager Cedric Tallis pulled off one of his all-time great trades on this date in 1969. He sent Steve Whittaker and John Gelnar to the Seattle Pilots in exchange for Lou Piniella.

At the time, the deal filled a pressing need for the Royals, giving them a right-handed bat with power potential.

Piniella was the first batter in franchise history and went 4-5 with a walk in the Royals debut a week later. He went on to hit .282/.325/.416 playing a solid left field for the Royals en route to winning the 1969 American League Rookie of the Year Award.

He played five years for the Royals and while he wasn't on the teams that formed the glory years, he was certainly part of their genesis.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP Awards
1969 25 KCR AL 135 539 493 43 139 21 6 11 68 2 4 33 56 .282 .325 .416 .741 107 205 12 MVP-35,RoY-1
1970 26 KCR AL 144 586 542 54 163 24 5 11 88 3 6 35 42 .301 .342 .424 .767 112 230 15
1971 27 KCR AL 126 476 448 43 125 21 5 3 51 5 3 21 43 .279 .311 .368 .679 94 165 12
1972 28 KCR AL 151 624 574 65 179 33 4 11 72 7 2 34 59 .312 .356 .441 .797 138 253 25 AS,MVP-32
1973 29 KCR AL 144 553 513 53 128 28 1 9 69 5 7 30 65 .250 .291 .361 .652 79 185 22
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP Awards
KCR (5 yrs) 700 2778 2570 258 734 127 21 45 348 22 22 153 265 .286 .327 .404 .730 106 1038 86
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/31/2014.

Piniella was traded at the end of the '73 season to the Yankees for Lindy McDaniel. McDaniel pitched 175 innings for the Royals over the next two years. Piniella went on to amass over 3,500 plate appearances for the Yankees and appeared in five postseasons from 1976 through 1981.

He was honored for his Royals career by being named the 31st best player in franchise history.

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