The Seattle Pilots opened their expansion season on April 8, 1969 with a 4-3 win over the Angels at Anaheim Stadium. After splitting a two game set there, they returned home 43 years ago today for their inaugural home opener at Sick's Stadium.
Just 14,993 fans were there on that day to see the Pilots improve to 2-1, beating the White Sox 7-0. Gary Bell pitched a complete game nine-hit shutout for the win and Don Mincher homered in the third inning to power the offense. Despite their expansion status, the Pilots were tied for first place in the AL West after the game and won again the next day to improve to 3-1.
Unfortunately, things turned downward from there. The Pilots were 34-39 at the end of June before going 15-42 in July and August. They finished in last place at 64-98 and tenth in the American League with 677,944 tickets sold. After just one season they went into bankruptcy, and were purchased by Bud Selig and moved to Milwaukee in 1970.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to 1994-96 Brewer Turner Ward. He turns 48.
Today is also the 37th anniversary of Hank Aaron's first game back in Milwaukee as a member of the Brewers. We covered that event in this space last year.