April 29, 1965 – In a matchup of Hall of Fame pitchers, Don Drysdale outdueled Juan Marichal in a 2-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. Drysdale enjoyed a banner season in 1965, winning 23 games as a pitcher and tying a career-high with seven home runs at the plate.
April 25, 1976 – Cubs center fielder Rick Monday saved the American flag from being burned by two protestors in the outfield at Dodger Stadium during a Sunday afternoon game. His actions become the lasting image of the country’s bicentennial celebration and the Dodgers trade for Monday after the season.
April 24, 1962 – Sandy Koufax tied his Dodger team record with 18 strikeouts in a 10-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Koufax also fanned 18 against the Giants at the Coliseum on 8/31/59. Koufax and Ramon Martinez are the only pitchers in Dodger history to record both an 18-strikeout game and a no-hitter during their respective careers.
April 22, 1958 – The Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs, 4-2, in the first night baseball game in the history of the Los Angeles Coliseum. Johnny Podres and Clem Labine combined on a four-hitter and Gino Cimoli hit a two-run home run in the first inning off Cubs starter Glen Hobbie.
April 19, 1890 – The Brooklyn “Bridegrooms” play their first game as members of the National League. Brooklyn jumped out to a 9-0 lead, but eventually lost 15-9 against the Boston Beaneaters at the Sound End Grounds in Boston. Outfielder Thomas “Oyster” Burns led Brooklyn with three hits.
April 16, 1983 – On Steve Garvey Night, the former Dodger All-Star first baseman makes his first appearance at Dodger Stadium with his new team, the San Diego Padres. During the Dodgers’ 8-5 victory, Garvey sets a National League record by playiing in his 1,118th consecutive game.
April 12, 1960 – On Opening Day, Chuck Essegian’s pinch-hit home run in the 11th inning beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-2, at the Los Angeles Coliseum. It was the third consecutive home run coming off the bench for Essegian, who hit two home runs in the 1959 World Series against the Chicago White Sox. Essegian, a fullback and linebacker on Stanford’s 1952 football team, is the only Dodger in history to play in both a Rose Bowl and a World Series.
April 9, 1981 – Making his first career Major League start, Fernando Valenzuela pitched a 2-0 complete-game victory over the Astros at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day. The rookie left-hander was an emergency starter because of injuries to Jerry Reuss and Burt Hooton. It was the first of eight consecutive victories by Valenzuela to open the 1981 season, which triggered “Fernandomania” throughout the baseball world.
April 8, 1974 – Braves’ Hall of Famer Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career record with his 715th home run against the Dodgers at Fulton County Stadium. Aaron’s blast off L.A. starter Al Downing in the fourth inning landed in the Braves’ bullpen and was caught by Atlanta reliever Tom House. Earlier in the day, both the Braves and Dodgers were warned by the FBI about extra security measures with Aaron on the brink of breaking the record.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the first exhibition game at the new Ebbets Field in Brooklyn on April 5, 1913. Outfielder Casey Stengel, who later became a Hall of Fame manager, hit the first home run, an inside-the-park shot against the New York Yankees.