The Royals are headed to the Bronx for our lone visit to Yankee Stadium this season – starting a three game series later tonight (TV-FSKC; Radio-KCSP/Royals Radio Network 6:10pm). Here are some interesting notes from the Royals first-ever trip to the Big Apple in 1969.
Monday, June 9, 1969
Roger Nelson threw a complete game giving up only five hits – the lone run coming on a second inning home run by first baseman Joe Pepitone. Cather Ellie Rodriguez led the Kansas City offense with going 2-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
Tuesday, June 10, 1969
Royals centerfielder Lou Piniella (a future Yankee himself) was the star of the game. Sweet Lou got the Royals off to a quick start with a first inning bases loaded double of Yankee starter Stan Bahnsen. Piniella later scored on an Ellie Rodriguez single and the Royals were up 4-0 before the Yankees had an at-bat.
Wednesday, June 11, 1969
Yankees 5 (11 innings)
Lou Piniella was at it again with his third four-hit game of the season. However the Royals blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. It was pinch-hitter Bobby Cox the doubled in the winning run for New York with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning. Yes – that is the same Bobby Cox who would later manage both the Blue Jays and of course the Braves to many post season appearances.
At the time New York was in the midst of one of their longest stretches without a championship team . They finished last in the ten team American League in 1966; 9th in 1967; and 5th in 1968. They would finish 5th in the six team American League East in 1969 – the first year of divisional play following expansion.
Yankee Stadium drew 24,612 – for the entire three game series (8,355 Monday; 7,588 Tuesday; 8,669 Wednesday)!
(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame)