During the sixth inning of an exhibition game against their minor league team at Ebbets Field, the Montreal Royals, Dodgers' president Branch Rickey issues a brief statement to the press. The two sentences will forever change the game when the team announces, "The Brooklyn Dodgers today purchased Jackie Roosevelt Robinson's contract from the Montreal Royals. He will report immediately."
Wally Post hits the first home run in Dodger Stadium history, a two-out, three-run shot in the seventh inning over the center-field fence off Johnny Podres that proves to be the difference in Cincinnati's 6-3 victory. The left fielder's homer is a fair ball, unlike some others hit in Chavez Ravine, with the discovery the foul poles are positioned in foul territory, requiring special permission from the National League for balls down the line to be recognized as fair
In front of 52,564 fans, Reds infielder Eddie Kasko doubles off Johnny Podres in the first-ever at-bat at Dodger Stadium, and Duke Snider's single in the bottom of the second accounts for the home team's first hit. After the first four seasons at the LA Memorial Coliseum, the team drops a 6-3 decision to the Reds in the debut of the new $22-million ballpark in Chavez Ravine, financed with a two-percent interest loan from the Union Oil Company in exchange for exclusive rights to advertise within the stadium.
After being granted his free agency in a landmark case that will forever change baseball, Andy Messersmith becomes one of the first major leaguers to use his new status to sign with a team of his choice. The former Dodger right-hander comes to terms with the Braves, posting a 16-15 record during his two-year tenure for his new club.
At the Astrodome, J.R. Richard, striking out 13 batters in a complete-game effort, sets the record for most wild pitches in a game, uncorking six in the Astros’ 2-1 victory over a win over the Dodgers. Braves' knuckleballer Phil Niekro will tie the Houston right-hander dubious mark later in the season, each surpassing Tiger rookie Charley Wheatley, who threw five in one frame in 1912.
Vin Scully misses the Dodgers' home opener for the first time in 35 years when doctors order the 84-year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster to rest as he recovers from a bad cold. The last time the team's play-by-play announcer was absent from the season's first home game, he was on assignment, calling the first round of the Masters in 1977.