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Dodgers Mark Stadium's 50th Anniversary at Home Opener PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steven Herbert, City News Service   
Thursday, 12 April 2012 01:31

LOS ANGELES – Clayton Kershaw threw a 93-mph fastball as the Los Angeles Dodgers began their season long celebration of Dodger Stadium's 50th anniversary at their April 10 home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, exactly 50 years after their first game there.

The Dodgers won the game, 2-1, on a eighth inning solo home run by Andre Ethier.

Terry Seidler – whose late mother, Kay O'Malley, threw the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium in 1962 – threw the ceremonial first pitch on Tuesday. She was escorted to the mound by her brother, Peter O'Malley, the Dodgers' former owner.

The Beach Boys sang the national anthem. The Beach Boys are also celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, which will include their first concert tour in more than two decades and a new studio album, set to be released in June.

An F-18 fighter jet from Naval Air Station Lemoore flew over the stadium during pregame ceremonies. Color guards from all five military branches presented the colors and 150 Army personnel from the Los Angeles Recruiting Battalion unfurled a giant flag on the field during the national anthem.

Marine Sgt. Eric Rodriguez of Los Angeles, a graduate of John Marshall High, was honored as the Veteran of the Game. Rodriguez was deployed overseas eight times and lost his left leg in an explosion in Afghanistan last year.

Members of the 1962 Dodger team were introduced, including that year's National League Most Valuable Player, Maury Wills, who stole a then-record 104 bases, and Tommy Davis, who led the league in hitting and runs batted in, and who joined in the customary announcement, "It's time for Dodger baseball."

The 1962 Dodgers – who lost the first game at Dodger Stadium, 6-3, to the Cincinnati Reds – held a four-game lead with seven games to play that season, but lost six of their next seven games as the San Francisco Giants won five of seven to force a best-of-three playoff series to decide the National League pennant.

The Dodgers lost the playoff series, two games to one, including a 6-4 loss in the decisive third game when they allowed four runs in the ninth inning.

Vin Scully, a Dodger announcer since 1950 when the team was located in Brooklyn, missed the game because of what the team described as a bad cold. It was the first time Scully, 84, had missed a home opener since 1977, when he was preparing for the CBS telecast of the Masters golf tournament.

Charley Steiner, normally the radio play-by-play announcer, filled in for Scully on the Prime Ticket telecast, with Steve Lyons serving as analyst, a role he fills on Prime Ticket road telecasts Scully does not announce.

Rick Monday, usually the radio analyst, was the radio play-by-play announcer.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium – Major League Baseball's third oldest stadium behind Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field – the Dodgers have established a website, dodg e r s . c om/ 50th,whi ch includes stories shared by longtime season ticket holders and an online poll on the top moments in Dodger Stadium history, accompanied by video.

A coffee table book "Dodgers: From Coast to Coast," chronicling the Dodgers' history from Brooklyn in the 1890s, will be released. It includes never before seen pictures, along with rare photographs and documents and memorabilia, original stories by Roger Kahn, author of the classic book on the 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers, "The Boys of Summer," and Steiner, and essays by former Dodgers Ron Cey, Eric Karros, Shawn Green, Wally Moon, Wes Parker, Steve Sax and Mike Scioscia.

Magic Johnson, the former Los Angeles Lakers star who fronts the group that reached an agreement last month to purchase the team from Frank McCourt for $2.15 billion, a record for a sports franchise, was not at the game. He was in New York City in connection with the April 11 opening of the Broadway playa bout his rivalry with former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, "Magic/Bird."

Johnson, who has declined to substantively discuss his plans for the team, told a New York television interviewer, "We want to restore the Dodger pride. We take over the first of May and we'll see what we can do."