KC Royals: Ranking the club’s 4 Rookies of the Year
No. 2: Lou “Sweet Lou” Piniella ranks as the second best KC Royals ROY.
Lou Piniella is the second best Rookie of the Year the Royals have had. Piniella won the award during the Royals’ inaugural 1969 season and played with the team for its first five seasons.
Piniella’s rookie campaign was no joke for its time, as he notched a slash line of .282/.325/.416 with a .741 OPS. He hit 11 home runs, had 68 RBIs, and stole two bases in the 135 games he played. He was even in the Most Valuable Player discussion until it ultimately went to Harmon Killebrew (who later played for the Royals).
Sweet Lou’s 1970-73 seasons were even better—he hit a combined .286/.327/.401 with a .728 OPS. His 1972 was the most notable with a .312 BA, 72 RBIs, and 11 home runs in 151 games.
Kansas City traded Piniella and Ken Wright to the Yankees after the 1973 season for Lindy McDaniel. The legendary McDaniel went on to post a 3.75 ERA in 184.2 IP during the tail-end of his career, and it was clear the Yankees won the trade.
Piniella hit .295/.338/.413 with a .751 OPS in 11 New York seasons. He was in the MVP discussion and won the World Series twice while there.
Though many remember him as a member of the Yankees, no one can take away the fact that Sweet Lou was the very first batter in Royals history.