At his Waldorf-Astoria apartment, 65-year-old Dodgers' owner Charles H. Ebbets dies of a heart attack. Later in the day, his team opens the home season in Brooklyn, losing to the Giants at Ebbets Field, 7-0.
In Brooklyn, Red Barber calls the action in the first broadcast of a regular-season Dodger game, a 7-3 loss to New York at Ebbets Field. The future Hall of Fame announcer was brought in from Cincinnati by the team's new president, Larry MacPhail, who had hired the 'Ol Redhead' when he was in a similar post with the Reds.
Dodger president Branch Rickey names 62-year-old Burt Shotton, a team scout, to replace Leo Durocher, suspended by Commissioner Happy Chandler ten days ago for acts "unbecoming to a major league manager." Brooklyn's new skipper, the son of a sailor who operated freighters on Lake Erie, reluctantly takes over the team two games into the season and manages the club for one year in his street clothes while wearing the team's hat and jacket.
Eddie Waitkus, who missed most of last season after being shot in June by a deranged fan in a Chicago hotel room, goes 3-for-5 in the Phillies' Opening Day 9-1 victory over the Dodgers at Shibe Park. The Philadelphia first baseman will be named the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year, scoring a team-high 102 runs while playing every National League Champions game.
Vin Scully calls the first game of his illustrious 67-year career with the Dodgers, detailing Brooklyn's 9-1 defeat to the Phillies on Opening Day at Philadelphia's Shibe Park. The 22-year-old broadcaster, who will become the team's primary announcer just three seasons later, will be awarded the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award by Bud Selig in 2014.
The Phillies play their first game with the team's name officially changed back from Blue Jays, routing the Dodgers at Shibe Park, 9-1. Skipper Eddie Sawyer has his team wear red pinstriped uniforms, a design reminiscent of the club's look in the early 1900s.
On Opening Day in Brooklyn, Willie Mays is knocked unconscious when he smashes into the Ebbets Field wall after chasing pinch-hitter Bob Morgan's seventh-inning, two-out base-loaded line drive into the gap in left field. All three Dodgers baserunners cross the plate but do not score when the motionless Giants center fielder comes to his feet and jogs into the dugout, apparently unhurt, having held onto the ball after making a fantastic catch for the third out to end the inning.
In front of a National League record crowd of 78,672, the Dodgers play their first home game on the West Coast. Carl Erskine wins, besting Al Worthington and the Giants, 6-5, in the LA Coliseum contest.
Branch Rickey, former general manager of the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Pirates, is appointed the president of the Continental League. The third potential major league never materializes but helps accelerate the expansion of the existing clubs, including putting a National League team in New York to fill the void created by the departure of the Giants and the Dodgers to the West Coast last season.
In the top of the third inning, Los Angeles southpaw Sandy Koufax throws the second immaculate innings of his two career when he strikes the side out on nine pitches, quickly setting down Leo Cardenas, Johnny Edwards, and Jim Maloney. In the next frame, Cincinnati will score all of the game's runs, thanks to Deron Johnson's three-run homer, beating the Dodgers in the Chavez Ravine contest, 3-0.
Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills becomes the first batter to collect a hit on artificial turf in a major league game when he singles to center off future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts. The Astrodome's new playing surface, initially called Chemgrass by the Monsanto Company, cannot be made quickly enough and will cover only the infield, with the outfield remaining painted dirt until July.
The Dodgers announce the fans' selection of Joe Beimel in an online poll during spring training as the player whose likeness will appear in an August 12th bobblehead promotion. The 30-year-old southpaw reliever, considered a long shot for the honor, gets the nod due to an intense internet campaign orchestrated by his parents, Ron and Marge.