50 Years of Dodger Big Swings
This story first appeared in the Aug. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
OCT. 6, 1963 The Dodgers polish off the New York Yankees, completing a four-game World Series sweep as Sandy Koufax outduels Whitey Ford, 2-1, in the finale.
SEPT. 9, 1965 Koufax throws a perfect game (his fourth no-hitter), striking out 14 Cubs, including three in the ninth. Vin Scully's nail-biting call ("I would think the mound at Dodger Stadium is the loneliest place in the world") would become a classic.
APRIL-MAY 1981 Fernandomania is unleashed on L.A. as screwballer Fernando Valenzuela, a 20-year-old rookie left-hander from Mexico, starts the season 8-0 with five shutouts.
SEPT. 16, 1987 The largest crowd in stadium history (63,000) comes to hear Pope John Paul II celebrate mass. Actor Ricardo Montalban serves as master of ceremonies.
AUG. 28, 1966
The Beatles play the first concert at Dodger Stadium in a show promoted by Newlywed Game host Bob Eubanks. The Fab Four would perform just one more show together, two nights later at San Francisco's Candlestick Park.
APRIL 7, 1977
Frank Sinatra sings the national anthem on Opening Day, fulfilling a promise to Tommy Lasorda that he would do so when the third-base coach became the team's manager.
OCT. 11, 1978 In an epic seven-minute battle, fireballing rookie Bob Welch, 21, fans Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson to end Game 2 of the World Series.
APRIL 10, 1962
After four seasons in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the team unveils Dodger Stadium, where 52,564 fans attend the first Opening Day.
APRIL 25, 1976 In the year of the nation's bicentennial celebration, Cubs outfielder Rick Monday dashes over and swipes an American flag from two protesters who jump on the field and try to set Old Glory on fire.
JUNE 4, 1972 On Old Timers Day, the Dodgers retire the uniform numbers of Koufax (32), Roy Campanella (39) and Jackie Robinson (42).
1988 Dodger Stadium stands in for Angel Stadium in Paramount's The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! as Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) must stop a hypnotized Reggie Jackson from assassinating the Queen of England.
OCT. 15, 1988 A gimpy Kirk Gibson comes off the bench to hit a one-handed, two-run, two-out, ninth-inning home run off Oakland's Dennis Eckersley to win Game 1 of the Series. Scully's call: "High fly ball into right field, she i-i-i-is … gone!!"
APRIL 13, 1996 One year after coming over from Japan, right-hander Hideo Nomo uses his deceptive tornado delivery to strike out 17 Marlins.
JULY 3, 2004 Game Over! Eric Gagne converts his 84th consecutive save, a major-league record.
SEPT. 18, 2006
Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson connect on consecutive solo homers in the bottom of the ninth as the Dodgers tie the score against the Padres, then win it in the 10th inning, 11-10, on a Nomar Garciaparra two-run shot.
JUNE 4, 1990
Slender Dominican right-hander Ramon Martinez strikes out 14 of the first 19 hitters he faces en route to tying Koufax's 31-year-old team record of 18 strikeouts in a game.
AUG. 26, 2011
Matt Kemp's homer makes him only the second Dodger in history to collect 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a season. He would end the year with 39 homers and 40 steals and finish second in the MVP race.
SEPT. 21, 1997 Mike Piazza becomes the first L.A. player to hit a home run out of Dodger Stadium, a towering 478-foot blast that lands on the roof of the left-field pavilion.