On November 25, 1969 — After being drafted in 1968 by the expansion Seattle Pilots, Outfielder Lou Piniella was traded to another expansion team the Kansas City Royals wins the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

On Opening Day, April 8, 1969, at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium, Piniella led off the bottom of the first with a double to left. This was the first hit of his major-league career and both the first at-bat and base hit for the Royals. When Jerry Adair singled to left, Piniella scored the franchise’s first run. Piniella hit safely the next three times to start the season with four hits in a row, 4-for-5 for the game. The next game he drove in the winning run in the 17th inning.

Piniella credited manager Joe Gordon with helping him become a better hitter and being more selective. Piniella batted .282 and was named the American League Rookie of the Year, the first player to win the award playing with an expansion team in its inaugural season.


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