This Date In Royals History – October 4, 1972

Municipal Stadium.jpgThough we thought the Royals might be closing out the Metrodome, it looks like the old homer haven has been given at least one last MLB reprieve. Tuesday’s game for the AL Central Championship should be intense and interesting – maybe indoor baseball in Minnesota has a few more weeks. We’ll soon find out.


However on Wednesday, October 4, 1972, the Royals did indeed close out the history of a historic ballpark right here at home. Though Royals Stadium was intended to debut in 1972, a construction strike had made another season at Municipal Stadium necessary instead. Professional baseball in Kansas City was ending a run at 22nd and Brooklyn that had begun in 1923 with the opening of Muehlebach Field which in turn had been known as Ruppert Stadium, Blues Stadium and finally Municipal Stadium.


The last game would be memorable for Royals pitcher Roger Nelson who fired a complete game two-hit shutout helping Kansas City defeat the Texas Rangers 4-0.


Just A Bit More: Roger Nelson was Kansas City’s first choice in the 1968 Expansion Draft and was a key member of those initial Royals clubs. This was his final appearance in his first stint with the Royals as he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds during the off-season with Richie Scheinblum in exchange for Wayne Simpson and Hal McRae. Nelson returned to the Royals in 1976 when he made three September relief appearances which were the last of his major league career.


(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame)


lwiedy…We used that photo in the RHOF as part of our Municipal Stadium exhibit. To find out the actual date of the photo I sat at the computer several months ago and did the same forensic work you did (I used and just started to narrow the possibilities).

It is indeed the top of the sixth on Sunday afternoon May 2, 1971 at Municipal Stadium. That is lefty Jim Rooker on the mound who had walked Mike Cuellar to lead off the inning and with one out walked which brought Boog Powell to the plate.

Powell would single past SS Fred Patek to load the bases. Rooker was then replaced by Al Fitzmorris. Fitzy got out the inning cheaply enough getting Frank Robinson out on a sac fly to LF and then striking out Paul Blair. The inning ended with the O’s up 4-3 – they won the game 5-3.

Tried to figure out a specific date for the photo of Municipal Stadium above. Best I could come up with is May 2, 1971. Couple things I could decipher, it?s a good crowd (29,120 perhaps?) a pitcher is running at second (Mike Cuellar) and Boog Powell is batting, for sure. I believed that is Dave Johnson is running at first. There is a lefty pitching with a number ending in 4, which could be Paul Splittorff or Jim Rooker (he wore 14 in 1971). Probably not Splittorff, I never saw him take a sign in a crouch. The most important key is a black, right-handed 1st baseman. Has to be Bob Oliver.

Put it all together, it?s May 2, 1971 in the top of the sixth inning.

The inning ended 4-2 and the second walk was to Davy Johnson. Poor typing – sorry.

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