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Opening Day Ticket

50 Years of Dodger Stadium: Opening Day 1962

 

April 10, 1962 was a beautiful day in Los Angeles as the Dodgers welcomed their fans for the first time into their new stadium and ushered in a new era in Southern California sports. Even though the Dodgers had been playing in L.A. since 1958, they had to wait during the long construction process before they had a ballpark to call their own.

Baseball Commissioner Ford C. Frick handed Walter O’ Malley a sacred and quite large key to Dodger Stadium in ceremonious fashion before play commenced.

Shortstop Maury Wills commented on the new digs:

“It’s the most gorgeous thing I’ve seen in my life. The infield is perfect. It’s nice and firm and true. It’s bound to get better, too. They’ve done a wonderful job on it.”

Duke Snider almost missed the game after a bizarre incident on the way to the ballpark for Monday’s workout. When the tailpipe of his car fell off, the Duke picked up the burning hot exhaust pipe scorching his fingers. He had to tape his fingers and wear a protective golf glove so he could still play.

There were other opening day wrinkles to iron out as well. Some of the stadium signs were misspelled. Instead of “Loge” there was “Lounge,” and “Pavilion” was mistakenly spelled “Pavillon.” The batting cage was lost, so the Dodgers couldn’t take batting practice. The groundkeeper had to dye the turf a spinach green, because recent rain storms left the grass uneven in color. Yet these errs wouldn’t be noticed by most of the eager fans enjoying the game that Tuesday afternoon.

They opened the park early at 10 am that morning along with utilizing additional parking attendants and police officers in order to facilitate the traffic more smoothly. 52, 564 fans would pour into Dodger Stadium for its inaugural game.

The coaches and players were introduced, and then the National Anthem was sung by tenor Alma Pedroza at 12:45pm.

Opening Day 1962

The starting lineups:

CINCINNATI

 Eddie Kasko – Shortstop
Cookie Rojas – Second Base
Vada Pinson – Center Field
Frank Robinson – Right Field
Wally Post – Left Field
Gordy Coleman – First Base
Tommy Harper – Third Base
Johnny Edwards – Catcher
Bob Purkey – Pitcher

LOS ANGELES

Maury Wills – Shortstop
Jim Gilliam – Second Base
Wally Moon – Left Field
Duke Snider – Right Field
John Roseboro – Catcher
Ron Fairly – First Base
Daryl Spencer – Third Base
Willie Davis – Center Field
Johnny Podres – Pitcher

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by Kay O’Malley to catcher Johnny Roseboro at 1 pm. Shortstop Eddie Kaso entered the batter’s box as the first batter in Dodger Stadium history. Al Barlick, Hall of Fame umpire, sat behind the plate and called the first pitch Kasko took from Podres a ball. Kasko proceeded to hit a double into the left field corner and later scored on Vada Pinson’s single. In the second inning the Duke hit a single to right field, the first hit by a Dodger at Dodger Stadium.

Johnny Podres, Brooklyn's Hero in the 1955 World Series, Was the Opening Day Starter

In the fourth inning, first baseman and USC alum Ron Fairly hit a 2-run double which brought in Jim Gilliam and Duke Snider. This gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. In the fifth inning Cincinnati tied it up on a Tommy Harper RBI single. In the seventh inning Pinson hit a double, the then the Dodgers intentionally walked Frank Robinson. Left fielder Wally Post then hit a 3-run 420 ft. homerun over the center field fence off Podres making it 5-2 in favor of the Reds.

The Dodgers tried to comeback in late innings, and loaded the bases in the eighth inning with one out, but Tommy Davis who was pinch-hitting for Snider, hit into an inning ending double play. The Reds went on to win the game with a score of 6-3.

Dodgers 3 8 0

Cincinnati 6 14 0

Purkey W (1-0)

Podres L (0-1)

Brosnan S (1)

HR- Post (1)

The next day, April 11, 1962 the Dodgers went on to win their first game at Dodger Stadium against the Reds with a score of 6-2. There would be many more memorable moments and winning games to come for the Dodgers as they made Dodger Stadium and the city of Los Angeles their home.

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Tags: Dodger Stadium Duke Snider Johnny Podres Los Angeles Dodgers Walter O'Malley

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