Gino Cimoli may not be a household name in baseball circles, but he made one bit of baseball history over fifty years ago: he was the first Major League Baseball batter in a West Coast game, leading off for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Francisco Giants at Seals Stadium.
The feat was much more poignant when you realize Cimoli was a native of the North Beach area of San Francisco, graduating from Galileo High School. Walter Alston put Cimoli in the lead-off spot in recognition of that connection to the Bay Area.
He was part of a good day for San Francisco and the Giants: Ruben Gomez shut down the Dodgers in an easy 8-0 win, which also featured Orlando Cepeda‘s first home run in his major-league debut.
Cimoli played for 10 seasons in the bigs, making the All-Star Game in 1957 and was later traded for Wally Moon. He came back to the old neighborhood after leaving the game.
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