Dodger “Firsts”

The first night baseball game on the East Coast was played at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn on June 15 and it was also memorable for another reason – Cincinnati’s Johnny Vander Meer pitched his second consecutive no-hitter, 6-0 over the Dodgers
First televised game in baseball history was between the Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds, originating from Ebbets Field on August 26. Two cameras were used by experimental New York station W2XBS and Red Barber, who sat behind home plate on the field level, was the broadcaster. The Dodgers lost the first game of a doubleheader, 5-2, in one hour and 16 minutes, but won the second game, 6-1
The Dodgers become the first major league team to wear protective headgear, consisting of a plastic lining inside their caps
On October 23, Jackie Robinson becomes the first African-American to sign a professional contract with a Major League Baseball club – the Dodgers. Robinson is then assigned to play in 1946 with the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ top farm team in the International League
Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier and makes his debut in Major League Baseball on April 15 in a game at Ebbets Field. Branch Rickey signed Robinson initially to a contract on October 23, 1945 and assigned the former UCLA four- sport star to play for the Montreal Royals in 1946. In 1947, Dodger ownership consisted of Rickey, Walter O’Malley, John L. Smith and Dearie McKeever Mulvey
Dan Bankhead signs with the Dodgers to become the first African-American pitcher in the major leagues, making his debut on August 26. Bankhead homered in his first major league plate appearance
On September 30, Jackie Robinson becomes the first African-American player to make a World Series appearance. On October 5, he is joined in that World Series by African-American teammate Dan Bankhead (serves as a pinch-runner). Robinson wins the first-ever Rookie of the Year Award (for both leagues) after batting .297 with a National League-leading 29 stolen bases. The first telecast of a World Series occurs as NBC airs Dodgers vs. New York Yankees games in New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Schenectady beginning September 30
Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida becomes the first and only integrated Spring Training site in the South in Major League Baseball
On April 20, Roy Campanella becomes the first African-American catcher to play in Major League Baseball. He later became a three-time National League MVP and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969
Dodger games are broadcast on FM Radio
Jackie Robinson (2B), Roy Campanella (C) and Don Newcombe (P) were the first African-American players to be named to the MLB All-Star Game for the National League team on July 12. Cleveland’s Larry Doby, an African-American, was named to the American League squad for the first time. The game was played at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field
On October 5, Pitcher Don Newcombe becomes the first African-American to start a World Series game in Game 1 of the 1949 World Series against the New York Yankees. In Game 5 at Ebbets Field on October 9, lights were ordered turned on by Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler for the first time in a World Series game. The game lasted three hours, four minutes
The Dodgers purchase their own airplane (Douglas DC-3) and begin transporting the team to Spring Training games throughout Florida
On October 1, the New York Giants defeat the Dodgers, 3-1, in the first of the three-game playoff and, for the first time, the game is televised coast-to-coast
Dodger uniforms change with the addition of a red number on the front of the jersey to help identify the players for television coverage
On October 1, Joe Black becomes the first African-American pitcher to win a World Series game, 4-2 over the New York Yankees in Game 1 at Ebbets Field
Walter O’Malley establishes a dark room for professional photographers at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, enabling those with film to develop to do so on property and not wasting valuable time commuting to a newspaper office
The Dodgers begin radio broadcasts in Spanish-language on WHOM in New York
On July 17, the majority of the Dodgers’ lineup are minorities with Jackie Robinson (3B), Jim Gilliam (2B), Sandy Amoros (LF), Roy Campanella (C) and Don Newcombe (P) starting the game against Milwaukee, won by the Dodgers at County Stadium, 2-1
The Dodgers won their first World Championship on October 4, defeating the New York Yankees, four games to three. It is the first World Series televised in color on NBC
During his unprecedented 10-year effort to replace aging Ebbets Field (built in 1913) which began in 1946, owner Walter O’Malley discusses at length, in these years, his idea of a new, privately-financed and maintained dome stadium at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn
The Dodgers make their historic Goodwill Tour to Japan and become the first team to play at Hiroshima in the post-World War II era. The Dodgers played before half a million enthusiastic Japanese fans. The Dodgers are 14-4-1 on the trip, which includes in the traveling party future Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson (playing for the last time), Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Don Drysdale, Manager Walter Alston, coach Billy Herman, broadcaster Vin Scully and owner Walter O’Malley
Dodger President Walter O’Malley invites Tokyo Yomiuri Giants Manager Shigeru Mizuhara, catcher Shigeru Fujio and pitcher Sho Horiuchi to 1957 Spring Training at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, FL. The manager and players, along with renowned Yomiuri Shimbun sportswriter Sotaro Suzuki, who organized the 1956 Dodger Goodwill Tour to Japan, were guests of the Dodgers from February 28- March 22
The first branding of the name “Los Angeles” Dodgers occurs when the Dodger- owned Convair 440 Metropolitan airplane displays the name to reflect their new home. Capt. Bump Holman had the plane painted in Vero Beach, Florida before piloting team executives and select players on their inaugural flight to Los Angeles on October 23 before a large awaiting crowd at Los Angeles International Airport
On April 18, the Dodgers play their first home game in Los Angeles at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum against the San Francisco Giants in front of 78,672 fans, which shattered four attendance records: largest regular season; largest Opening Day; largest Opening Day in Dodger history; and largest in National League history. The Dodgers won 6-5. On April 15, the Dodgers played the first major league game on the West Coast at San Francisco’s Seals Stadium and it was the first regular-season game televised on KTTV to Los Angeles with Vin Scully broadcasting
In their inaugural season in Los Angeles, the Dodgers establish Spanish-language broadcasts on KWKW Radio
On Roy Campanella Night, the Dodgers draw a then major league record crowd of 93,103 on May 7 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Dodgers played an exhibition game against the New York Yankees and more than 20,000 additional fans were turned away
The Dodgers and Chicago White Sox establish single game major league attendance records (more than 92,000 each game) during the World Series played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with the largest crowd at 92,706 for Game 5 on October 6
Four minorities are on the field when the Dodgers win the 1959 World Series. The players are Charlie Neal (2B), Maury Wills (SS), Jim Gilliam (3B) and John Roseboro (C), all products of the Dodger player development system
The Tokyo Yomiuri Giants are the first professional team from Japan to train at a major league training site, as they conduct workouts and Spring Training at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, FL
Walter O’Malley designs, privately finances and builds Dodger Stadium, the first stadium of the modern era which is exclusively constructed for baseball. Dodger Stadium, with its unobstructed sightlines, opened on April 10 to wide fan acceptance. It was the first privately-financed stadium since Yankee Stadium was built in 1923. On April 10, KTTV Channel 11 televised the first home game from Dodger Stadium with broadcasters Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett
Jackie Robinson is the first African-American player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies were held on July 23
On July 17, the Dodgers are the first team to present a game on pay television when they beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-2, at Dodger Stadium on newly-launched Subscription TV, formed by Lear-Siegler, Inc., Santa Monica and R.H. Donnelley Corp. (a subsidiary of Dun & Bradstreet). Frank Sims handles the play-by-play, while Dodger V.P. Fresco Thompson is the analyst. For $1.50 a game (the same as a Top Deck or Pavilion ticket), some 2,500 subscribers watched the initial pay- TV game in color (on color sets) on STV out of 4,000 wired homes
Walter O’Malley hires two minority coaches – Jim Gilliam, an African-American, and Preston Gomez, of Cuban descent – on the major league staff
On March 17, Jackie Robinson serves as the first African-American broadcaster for a major network (ABC) on a “mock” MLB telecast at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida. Robinson worked with Chris Schenkel during the 1965 season
The Dodgers feature a switch-hitting infield with first baseman Wes Parker, second baseman Jim Lefebvre, shortstop Maury Wills and third baseman Jim Gilliam
The Dodgers become the first team in the majors to attract more than two million fans in home attendance and two million at road games in the same season
Dodger Spanish broadcasters Jaime Jarrin and Jose Garcia, who previously had re-created road games on KWKW Radio, begin traveling to road sites for broadcasts
Jim Barbieri is the first to play in the Little League World Series (1954) and a World Series
The Dodgers were the first team to purchase a jet airplane for team travel, as they bought a Boeing 720-B Fan Jet for use beginning with the 1971 season. It was christened for Kay O’Malley, wife of Dodger owner Walter O’Malley, “Kay ’O II” and in use through the 1982 season. Previously, the Dodger team-owned airplanes included a Douglas DC-3 (acquired in 1950), a Convair 440 Metropolitan (purchased in 1957 and used through 1960), a Douglas DC-6B (purchased in 1961) and a Lockheed Electra II (dedicated “Kay ’O”, purchased in 1961 and used from 1962-70)
As a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an East-West Major League Baseball Classic benefit game, sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is played at Dodger Stadium. Coretta Scott King threw the ceremonial first pitch and the East team behind Player of the Game Ron Fairly’s home run beat the West, 5-1. Fifteen future Hall of Famers played in this game.
For 18 seasons in Los Angeles, ticket prices for Dodger home games remained unchanged from 1958-75. Prices ranged from 75 cents to $3.50 during that time, earning Dodger Stadium an extraordinary reputation as a place for a first-rate, affordable family outing
The Dodgers play two spring training exhibition games in the Dominican Republic against the New York Mets, marking the first time that two major league teams ever played in the Dominican
The Dodgers become the first team to draw three million in home attendance with 3,347,845 fans spinning the Dodger Stadium turnstiles
On October 29, Peter O’Malley sends Dodger coaches Red Adams and Monty Basgall to Australia where they serve as guest instructors for the Australian Baseball Federation
The Dodgers unveil DiamondVision, the first and largest full-color matrix board in the world, for the July 8, 1980 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. DiamondVision was built by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation of Japan and was used to entertain fans with highlights, information and videos
On July 24, baseball officials from China make a historic visit to the United States to meet with Peter O’Malley at Dodger Stadium
Fernando Valenzuela caps off an incredible rookie season, as the Dodgers win the World Championship, by becoming the first Mexican national to be honored with the Cy Young Award. He also is named National League Rookie of the Year
Peter O’Malley arranges for the first-ever Olympic Baseball exhibition tournament to be played at Dodger Stadium from July 31-August 7, marking the sport’s largest involvement in the Olympic Games to date. Japan defeated the United States 6-3 in the August 7 finals before a sellout crowd of 55,235. Baseball was a demonstration sport for the sold-out games featuring eight teams at Dodger Stadium and the momentum from this tournament led to its 1992 official gold medal status in Barcelona
The Dodgers were recognized as the only sports franchise selected in the book “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” They were named again in the 1993 book of that title and were recognized a third time, in 1997, as they were selected by Fortune magazine
The Dodgers host the Samsung Lions, a South Korean professional team, for training camp at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, FL. It is the first time a team from South Korea has trained in the U.S. On March 9, Dodger President Peter O’Malley hosts Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and the Commissioner of Baseball in Korea General Jyong-Chul Suh. The Dodgers defeated the Lions 7-0 at Holman Stadium, marking the first Korean professional team to play against a major league team
Dodger shortstop Craig Shipley becomes the first native-born Australian to play Major League Baseball since 1901, when second baseman Joe Quinn played his last game with the Washington Senators
Peter O’Malley privately builds “Dodger Baseball Field” in the People’s Republic of China at the Tianjin Institute of Physical and Cultural Education (about 120 kilometers south of Beijing). Dedication ceremonies were held on September 12 with O’Malley and Jia-Qi Chen, President of the Institute participating in the opening. Other officials in the delegation included Bowie Kuhn, former Commissioner of Baseball; Dr. Creighton Hale, president of Little League Baseball; Dr. Bob Smith, president of the International Baseball Association; Rod Dedeaux, former USC and U.S. Olympic Baseball coach; Harry Bardt, Dodger Director (who played baseball as a U.S. Army soldier in 1917); Li Menghua, Minister of Sports, People’s Republic of China; and Li Ruihuan, Mayor of Tianjin
Pope John Paul II makes his first-ever appearance in Los Angeles and celebrates Mass to the largest crowd (63,000) ever at Dodger Stadium on September 16. It is the first Papal visit ever to Los Angeles
On March 20, the Dodgers and the New York Mets play the first nationally- televised Spring Training game (on NBC) at Holman Stadium, Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida before a crowd of 7,931
The first Korean-language broadcast of a major league game in the United States is at Dodger Stadium on September 9
For the first time, the Dodgers publish their Line Drives fan newsletter in Korean, Japanese and Spanish languages, in addition to English
Peter O’Malley privately builds “Dodger Little League Friendship Field” which opens on January 18 in Managua, Nicaragua. Joining O’Malley for the dedication ceremonies are Nicaraguan President Violetta Barrios de Chamorro; Carlos Garcia, Nicaraguan Minister of Sport; Little League Baseball President Dr. Creighton Hale; and Ralph Avila, Dodger Vice President, Campo Las Palmas. Nicaraguan Dennis Martinez, then pitcher for the Montreal Expos, participated in the ceremonial first pitch. President Chamorro threw the ceremonial pitch, O’Malley was the batter and Martinez served as catcher
On May 19, the Dodgers host the first regular season MLB game to be broadcast in four languages – English, Spanish, Korean and Mandarin – in Los Angeles
The Dodgers make a historic Friendship Series tour from October 26-November 4. On Oct. 29, the Dodgers play the first of five exhibition games – three in Taipei, Taiwan and two in Fukuoka, Japan. The first three games were against the Chinese Professional Baseball League All-Stars. It is the first visit by a Major League Baseball team to Taiwan
During Spring Training, Waseda University of Japan is the first amateur team to be invited to train alongside the major league Dodgers at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida. Waseda trains for a two-week period from February 17-March 1
On January 14, pitcher Chan Ho Park signs a historic contract with the Dodgers, becoming the first South Korean-born player to play in the major leagues. Pioneer Park, who opened the door for others from his country to follow in his footsteps, enjoyed 17 seasons in Major League Baseball, including nine with the Dodgers (1994-2001, 2008). He won 124 games, the most by a pitcher from Asia, and pitched in three postseasons
On July 5 at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers and Montreal were the first regular season MLB game to broadcast in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Korean and Mandarin
Peter O’Malley signs Japanese pitcher Hideo Nomo to a historic contract on February 13. Nomo played for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in Japan’s professional league before joining the Dodgers. Named 1995 National League All-Star Game starter and N.L. Rookie of the Year, Nomo’s success opened the door for more than 50 additional players from Japan to showcase their talents in MLB through the years. He was inducted into the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame as the youngest player on July 18, 2014 and was only the third elected in his first year of eligibility
The Dodgers set a record with five consecutive National League Rookies of the Year (1992-1996), as Todd Hollandsworth joins Eric Karros (1992), Mike Piazza (1993), Raul Mondesi (1994) and Hideo Nomo (1995) as winners of the award
In ceremonies on April 15, Jackie Robinson’s uniform No. 42 is retired by Major League Baseball
Peter O’Malley privately builds two regulation baseball fields – one for adults and one an international standard Little League field – in Corkagh Demesne Park in Clondalkin, West Dublin, Ireland. Dodger Baseball Field for adults and O’Malley Little League Baseball Field for youth open on July 4, providing Ireland with dedicated baseball fields for the first time. Attending the dedication ceremonies for Ireland’s first exclusive baseball field were Aldo Notari, president, IBA; Dr. Creighton Hale, longtime president and CEO of Little League Baseball; Ann Murphy, president, Irish Baseball & Softball Association; Dodger Chairman of the Board Peter O’Malley; and Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, U.S. Embassy, Dublin, Ireland
The Dodgers are named “Sports Franchise of the Century” by Street & Smith’s. The O’Malley family enjoyed more than 50 years of Dodger ownership
Chin-Feng Chen becomes the first native born from Taiwan to play in Major League Baseball, playing as a left fielder for the Dodgers
Hideo Nomo is inducted into the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame on July 18 as the youngest player elected (45 years, 4 months). He is only the third player elected in his first year of eligibility. Pre-game induction ceremonies are held prior to the Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Game at Seibu Dome in Tokorozawa. Peter O’Malley participates in the ceremonies to honor pioneer pitcher Nomo. On the same date, retirement ceremonies are held to honor Chan Ho Park, the first player in Major League Baseball from South Korea. Ceremonies for Park are held prior to the Korean Professional Baseball All-Star Game at Champions Field, Kwangju, South Korea. Park’s 124 major league wins in his 17-year career are the most by a pitcher from Asia. In 2012, he pitched for the Hanwha Eagles in the KBO
Vin Scully (67th season) and Jaime Jarrin (58th season), both in the Baseball Hall of Fame, are the longest tenured broadcasters with one team
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