This Date In Royals History–1969 Edition: February 21

The Royals officially opened their first spring training camp. Forty-six players reported to Fort Myers, Florida, for manager Joe Gordon’s first scheduled workout. Kansas City had a handful of players holding out due to a dispute between the players’ association and baseball’s owners over a pension dispute, which would be resolved in a few days’ time. Many of the Royals on the spring training roster were either minor leaguers or rookies who were not part of the players’ association yet, but some veterans who felt they needed a full spring training to compete for a job showed up despite the pension issue. After short speeches from Gordon and general manager Cedric Tallis, the players went through some calisthenics and a long batting practice session.­ The team would have two weeks of workouts and intrasquad games before their first exhibition game on March 6.

The spring training facility in Fort Myers had been home to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ spring camp for 14 years, but city officials had agreed to make several improvements for the Royals. A third playing field was constructed, plus a new clubhouse with lockers for 78 players (the old clubhouse would be used for visiting teams going forward). Also, a building at Terry Park was renovated so the Royals’ front office could have office space. Future plans included construction of a fourth diamond and a new grandstand.

Today’s birthdays: Ted Savage (1937), Joe Foy (1943), Brandon Berger (1975)

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