The Reds’ leadoff batter, Eddie Kasko, christened the field with a double. He also scored the first run on a base hit by Vada Pinson. Snider delivered the Dodgers’ first hit and Jim Gilliam scored the first run. Ron Fairly doubled for the first Dodger RBI.
Although Los Angeles dropped the opener, 6-3, on a three-run home run by Cincinnati’s Wally Post, the energy and excitement associated with the Dodgers’ new ballpark was just beginning. Aerial photographers circled in helicopters for a better view of 52,564 patrons and a circular maze of automobiles with the downtown Los Angeles skyline in the background.
“All the minor problems were expected and conquered,” wrote The Times’ Hall. “The main thing is that the gates are open. Los Angeles has itself a major league ballpark, a truly remarkable stadium that is obviously destined to become recognized as the finest in the world. And those who were there will never forget how it all started on opening day.”
One of the biggest stories of the first week was a lack of drinking fountains, an oversight that gained national attention in cartoons and other press parodies. According to Dodger General Manager Buzzie Bavasi, the planners also forgot to install electrical outlets in the clubhouses. But the water issue was the most famous subject, even though every design aspect had to be approved by the City Council.
As drinking fountains were installed, other oversights in baseball history were recalled. At the new Yankees’ spring training headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, the flag-raising ceremony was delayed when it was discovered the builder had forgotten to include a flag pole. There were no drinking fountains at L.A.’s Olympic Auditorium. At Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, the construction of a press box was overlooked, as were women’s restrooms at the Yale BowlLos Angeles Times, April 18, 1962.
On April 12, representatives from the Yale and Towne Manufacturing Company presented O’Malley with a gold grand master key to the new Dodger Stadium. The new stadium was entirely equipped with Yale locks, all of which under a grand master key system. A similar gold grand master key was made and presented to the President of the United States upon the renovation of the White House. Vice Presidents Bavasi, Walsh and Fresco Thompson received silver master keys and Kay O’Malley received a gold bracelet because April 12 was her birthday.
The Dodgers were a hit on the field and at the box office, but O’Malley and his staff continued to analyze the new venue to better accommodate the comfort and overall experience of the fans.
On April 16, O’Malley wrote a 27-item checklist for Walsh to check on various aspects of the new ballpark. For example, the first item was a suggestion from umpire Al Barlick: “Foul line between home and first should be re-laid before starting of play.” Other subjects included dugout ushers, elevator signs, truck delivery schedules, bullpen locations, visiting clubs, playing field security, lost and found procedures, office luncheon meals and the problem of fans climbing up and down the exterior banks of the stadium.