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Baseball history unpacked, April 9

Great Opening Day moments and other momentous events

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Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Last time around, we examined the Curt Flood Act, the history of the Save, and other such events as occurred within that time-frame. Today we unpack Opening Day. Any previous installments are available in this handy story-stream.

Please to have a happy.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1912 - In the first game ever played at Fenway Park, the Red Sox beat Harvard, 2-0, in an abbreviated exhibition contest played on a cold and snowy afternoon in front of 3,000 hardy fans. (1)

Fenway Park’s inaugural year was exceptional on many levels. After extensive construction in the early months of 1912, Fenway Park hosted its first game on April 9, an exhibition between the Red Sox and Harvard College. Eleven days later, the Red Sox played their first official game at Fenway Park against the New York Highlanders. The club went on to win 105 regular season games, the American League Pennant and a thrilling World Series. During the season, while the Red Sox were on the road, a few amateur baseball games were held at the park and the construction of left-field and right-field bleachers was completed in time for the World Series. In late 1912, Fenway Park hosted the National High School Football Championship Game, concluding an eventful first year in the park’s history. — Boston Red Sox

The first home game wasn’t until April 20, and it was overshadowed by the April 15 sinking of the Titanic.

  • 1913 - The Phillies spoil the debut of Ebbets Field, beating the Dodgers, 1-0, in front of small crowd of approximately 10,000 fans, who brave the extremely cold weather to witness the pitching duel. (1)
  • 1947 - Commissioner Happy Chandler suspends manager Leo Durocher of the Brooklyn Dodgers for the entire season for consorting with gamblers. (2)
  • 1965 - Houston begins playing in the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ when they host an exhibition game against the Yankees at the Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium in history. In the opening ceremonies, 24 astronauts throw 24 ceremonial first pitches as the Colt .45’s become the Astros. (1)
  • 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. (1)

— it’s been noted here previously that the Cubs were once the parent team of the minor-league version of the Angels.

ETA: An astute reader has noticed that this line is in error as the Angels never shared the ballpark. They were its sole tenants during the year in question. Confirming articles:

  1. Jim Gordon (SABR): Wrigley Field: Los Angeles.
  2. Ryan Swanson (The National Pastime Museum): Ballparks we’ve missed.

That oughta keep you for a little while until the game starts. Thanks for reading. Where to get my books.