Though an expansions team had been promised to Kansas City after the A's move to Oakland in 1967, it didn't feel official until ownership was granted to Ewing Kauffman on January 11, 1968. Kauffman was a perfect fit. The Kansas City native was a true entrepreneur and immediately brought his energy and spirit to the new hometown team effort.
After many failed attempts, Charlie Finley got his wish when his Athletics' move to Oakland was approved in 1967 - a move that left Kansas City without a baseball team for the first time since 1883. But the loss was actually a fresh start for Kansas City.
At the same owners' meeting that approved the move, Kansas City was promised an expansion club no later than 1971. For local leaders that offer was not enough because a new tenant was needed to satisfy bonds passed for a new stadium complex. Senator Stuart Symington went so far as to threaten a motion on the Senate floor if baseball would not move more quickly.
On October 19, 1967, the owners hastily reconvened and approved a "revised" expansion timetable with four new teams to debut in 1969. Kansas City was back in the big leagues with an opportunity to right all the wrongs it felt inflicted by Charlie Finley. This time just having a team wasn't enough. Kansas City was determined to build a team all its own.
That task started with the selection of Ewing and Muriel Kauffman as owners. Ewing Kauffman himself was a great Kansas City story - a self-made pharmaceutical entrepreneur who wanted to give back to the community. The name Royals was chosen by fans as an ode to a local cultural institution, the American Royal Horse and Livestock Show. Even the logo was fashioned by a hometown designer at Hallmark.
The stage was set and on April 8, 1969 the Royals took the field as a ballclub unmistakably Kansas City through and through.
The Royals rookie year featured the America League Rookie of the Year in centerfielder Lou Piniella. "Sweet Lou" came to Kansas City in a trade with the Seattle Pilots just a week before the 1969 season began. He played in Kansas City through 1973 and made his sole MLB All-Star Game appearance as a member of the Royals (1972 - Atlanta).
The Royals take the field for their first-ever regular season game hosting the Minnesota Twins at Municipal Stadium located at 22nd and Brooklyn. Lou Piniella is the Royals lead-off hitter and gets the club's first hit and scores the first run. Pinch-hitter Joe Keogh drives in the winning run with a 12th inning single for a 4-3 Kansas City Victory.