1913 The Phillies spoil the debut of Ebbets Field, beating the Dodgers, 1-0, in front of a small crowd of approximately 10,000 fans, who brave the frigid weather to witness the pitching duel. Given special permission, Brooklyn opens the season a day early to properly inaugurate its new $75,000 Brooklyn ballpark, which took a year to build.
1947 Dodger skipper Leo Durocher, feuding with the Yankees, is suspended for one year by commissioner Happy Chandler for an assortment of actions deemed detrimental to baseball, including association with known gamblers. The Brooklyn and New York clubs are both fined $2,000 and by order of the commissioner are not allowed to discuss the matter.
1966 After sharing space at Wrigley Field in 1961 and Dodger Stadium from 1962-65 during their first five seasons in Los Angeles, the Angels move to nearby Anaheim into their own stadium. The ‘Halos’, now known as the California Angels, host the San Francisco Giants in a pre-season exhibition game in the first contest ever played at Anaheim Stadium.
1981 On Opening Day, Fernando Valenzuela, making his first major league start in place of scheduled starter Jerry Reuss, blanks Houston on five hits at Dodger Stadium, 2-0. During the strike-shortened season, the 20 year-old rookie from Mexico will lead the league in game starts (25), complete games (11), and shutouts (8).
LHP Tyler Anderson (14-3, 2.73 ERA) takes the Chase Field mound for the Dodgers and RHP Ryne Nelson (1-0, 0.00 ERA) does so for the D-Backs. This will be Nelson’s second big league start; he went seven scoreless innings against the Padres a week ago and got the win.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1930 The last major league bounced home run is hit by Dodger catcher Al Lopez at Ebbets Field as the NL joins the American League, which had enacted the rule change in 1929. The player who hits the ball over the wall on a bounce will now be awarded a ground-rule double.
1932 In the bottom of the ninth, Johnny Frederick hits his major league record-setting sixth pinch-homer of the season, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 victory over the Cubs. The Brooklyn outfielder’s major league mark will not be broken for 68 years until another Dodger, Dave Hansen, strokes seven round-trippers coming off the bench in 2000.
1953 The Dodgers clinch a pennant at the earliest date ever in baseball history with a 5-2 victory over the Braves at County Stadium. Carl Erskine gets the win when Brooklyn, who clinches consecutive titles for the first time in franchise history, goes up 13 games up on Milwaukee with 12 left to play.
1962 One game behind the front running Dodgers, the Giants lose Willie Mays, their All-Star center fielder, when he is hospitalized for nervous exhaustion. The ‘City by the Bay’ will drop six games in a row, but will recover along with ‘Say Hey Kid’ in time to beat Los Angeles in a playoff to win the National league pennant.
1963 In a pregame ceremony with his former Dodgers teammates, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, and Ralph Branca in attendance, Duke Snider is honored by the Mets with a special ‘night’ at the Polo Grounds, which coincidentally marks the last time the Giants, now located in San Francisco, will ever play in their once long-time home in Harlem. The ‘Silver Fox’, obtained by the last-place expansion team in April, has recently requested to be traded to a contender.
“I look up into the stands, and it looks like Ebbets Field. The Mets are wonderful, but you can’t take the Dodger out of Brooklyn” – DUKE SNIDER, – addressing the Mets fans on his special night at the Polo Grounds.
1995 During a WGN pre-game radio broadcast at Wrigley Field, Cubs announcer Harry Caray remarks to the team’s skipper Jim Riggleman, “Well, my eyes are slanty enough, how ’bout yours?”, referring to Hideo Nomo, the Japanese rookie hurler scheduled to start for the Dodgers. The veteran announcer, known for not backing off for his on-the-air off-handed comments, does issue an apology, calling the incident “unfortunate.”
2000 On the same date the mark was established 68 years ago, Dave Hansen breaks Johnny Frederick’s 1932 record for pinch-hit home runs in a single season with his seventh round-tripper coming off the bench. The Dodger pinch-hitter’s historic homer, a seventh-inning three-run blast off Diamondback right-hander Curt Schilling, isn’t enough to prevent the team’s 5-4 loss to Arizona at Bank One Ballpark.