Royals

Ex-Royal and first batter at Kauffman (then Royals) Stadium dies at 73

Dave Nelson, who became a Royal after becoming the first player to record an at-bat at then-Royals Stadium, has died.
Dave Nelson, who became a Royal after becoming the first player to record an at-bat at then-Royals Stadium, has died. File photo

Dave Nelson, who ended his 10-year career with the Royals in 1977, died Monday at 73 after a battle with liver cancer.

Nelson owns another, historical connection to the Royals. He was the first player to step into the batter’s box in a game at Kauffman Stadium.

Nelson hit leadoff as a member of the visiting Texas Rangers on April 10, 1973. He grounded out to pitcher Paul Splittorff to open the ballpark then known as Royals Stadium. The Royals won the game 12-1.

Since 2001, Nelson held a variety of roles for the Milwaukee Brewers, who open a two-game series at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, including broadcaster and director of alumni relations.

Nelson was an All-Star infielder for the Rangers in 1973. He was traded to the Royals after the 1975 season for Nelson Briles and was a member of the Royals’ first playoff team in 1976. Nelson also did some broadcasting work for the Royals in 1979.

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