On This Day: KC Royals record first game, win in franchise history 54 years ago
By Jacob Milham
The KC Royals have seen plenty of highs and lows in their storied franchise history, but the team started with a win back in April 8, 1969. The Royals played their first game in franchise history and recorded their first win as well. the 4-3 win came against current AL Central division mate, the Minnesota Twins in 12 innings.
Every team starts somewhere. But the KC Royals started their franchise history with a win in April 8, 1969.
17,688 fans attended the game in old Municipal Stadium, which lasted three hours and 17 minutes. Pitcher Wally Bunker started the game for Kansas City, pitching five innings and surrendering two runs. Dave Wickersham, who debuted for the Athletics in 1960, returned to Kansas City with five innings of shutout relief for the Royals. Former Kansas City Athletics pitcher Moe Drabowsky recorded his first and only win in a Royals uniform against the Twins, closing out the game in the 12th inning.
Hall of Fame player Joe Gordon won his managerial debut in Kansas City, and only managed the 1969 season. The Royals ended that season with a 69-93-1 record and finished fourth in the then-AL West.
The Royals first game also saw the team debut of outfielder Lou Pinella, who logged four of Kansas City 14 hits against the Twins. Pinella later won the AL Rookie of the Year award, with a .741 OPS and 11 home runs in 135 games. Pinella spent five seasons with the Royals and appeared in his only All-Star game. He famously went on to finish his playing career with the New York Yankees. At age 42, he began a 23-year managerial career with the Yankees. Punella went on to win a World Series managing the Cincinnati Reds in 1990.