Fresh off a tumultuous offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping tonight’s 50th anniversary of the opening of Dodger Stadium will give the troubled franchise a fresh start.
The Dodgers first played at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, April 10, 1962, 50 years to the day before Opening Day 2012, against the Cincinnati Reds. Along with celebrating Dodger Stadium, the team will honor the 1962 squad.
It should be a notable fest. Members of that 1962 team 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. These players will be introduced on the field during pregame ceremonies and greeted by Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda. 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.
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. (Speaking of the immortal Vin Scully: he looks back at his years of baseball in Los Angeles in this delightful interview.)
After all that, the Beach Boys will sing the National Anthem.
It’s an important date for the Dodgers. Though today’s game is sold out, most other games are not, and the team has a lot of work to do in wooing back the disaffected masses. We’re guessing the team will get another big boost when Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten and Guggenheim Partners actually takes control of the franchise; until then, the team needs to work on marketing, says Steve Dilbeck. One big factor that could bring back the fans: promoting the idea that the venue is a safe, fan-friendly place — an idea that will be promoted by the sea of blue slated for tonight’s match.
Yeah, we know the photos are a little out of date. A trip to Dodger Stadium is slated for this season.
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