Opening Day at Dodger Stadium today, April 10, is the start of the team’s season-long celebration of Dodger Stadium’s 50th Anniversary. The Dodgers first played at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, April 10, 1962 against the Cincinnati Reds, who won 6-3. Members of that 1962 team that will be on hand today will include Larry Burright, 1962 NL batting champ Tommy Davis, Tim Harkness, Ken McMullen, Wally Moon, Ron Perranoski, Pete Richert, Ed Roebuck, Norm Sherry, Daryl Spencer, Stan Williams and 1962 MVP Award winner Maury Wills.
Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda, who was the first to dub Dodger Stadium “blue heaven on earth,” will greet the members of the 1962 team as they are introduced. Drew Drysdale, Don Drysdale’s daughter, will perform “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch.
The ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium will be thrown by Terry Seidler, whose mother Kay O’Malley threw out the first-ever pitch at Dodger Stadium in 1962. The O’Malley family owned the Dodgers from 1950-98 and Seidler’s father, Hall of Famer Walter O’Malley, moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles and constructed Dodger Stadium. Seidler will be escorted to the mound by her brother, former owner and club president Peter O’Malley, and many members of the O’Malley family will also be on hand.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and iconic band The Beach Boys will sing the national anthem and perform as both Dodger Stadium and The Beach Boys celebrate their 50th anniversaries. Dodger fans will also enjoy The Beach Boys’ greatest hits exclusively throughout the ballpark, as well as a video feature on the band’s 50th Anniversary reunion and tour.
Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrín will also be celebrated during pre-game ceremonies, as will Dodger organist Nancy Bea Hefley. Scully is entering his 63rd season as a Dodger broadcaster, Jarrin his 54th and Hefley her 25th.
Dodger Stadium was the first MLB stadium since the initial construction of the original Yankee Stadium to be built using 100% private financing, and the last until AT&T Park opened in San Francisco in 2000. When the ballpark opened there were two drinking fountains, one in each dugout. O’Malley claimed it was an oversight. In addition, the clubhouses had no electrical outlets. The foul poles, which are supposed to be in fair territory, were actually in foul territory. The Dodgers received special dispensation from the National League to leave them in place until after the 1962 season.
- Dodger Stadium is the third oldest park in major league behind Fenway Park (Boston, 1912) and Wrigley Field (Chicago, 1914).
- In 3858 regular-season games, Dodgers’ record is 2,179-1,679 (.565).
- Dodger Stadium has hosted 20 World Series games, the 1980 All-Star Game, 1984 Olympic baseball and the 2009 World Baseball Classic final.
- There have been 11 no-hitters tossed at Dodger Stadium, seven by Dodgers. But the first no-hitter was thrown by Bo Belinsky of the Angels, May 5, 1962, vs. Baltimore. The ballpark when the Angels played there was called, “Chavez Ravine” so as to not remind Angel fans of their landlords.
- The first Dodger no-no was thrown by (this is an easy one) Sandy Koufax on June 30, 1962, against the Mets.
- There have been two perfect games thrown at Dodger Stadion: Koufax on 09/09/1965 and Dennis Martinez on 07/28/1991.
Win a beer factoid: The first grand slam at Dodger Stadium was hit by Brooks Robinson on 5/6/1962.
Here’s a great piece on postcards from Dodger Stadium’s past by Mike Downey, ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Nine to Know from the first game at Dodger Stadium (Attendance: 52,564):
- The first batter of the game, Eddie Kasko, got the first hit at Dodger Stadium, double off Johnny Podres.
- Vada Pinson single drove Kasko home for the first RBI.
- In the bottom of the 2nd, Duke Snider singled for the first Dodger hit.
- In the bottom of the 4th, Ron Fairly doubled home two for the first Dodger RBI.
- In the top of the 7th, Wally Post homered for the Reds for the first homer at the new ballpark.
- In the 9th, Darryl Spencer of the Dodgers hit the first triple.
- Bob Purkey picked up the first win.
- Johnny Podres was tagged with the first loss.
- Jim Brosnan gat the first save.