1965 April

th  President Lyndon B. Johnson joins 47,878 fans for the opening of Harris County Domed Stadium (the Astrodome). The Astros win an exhibition with the Yankees 2–1 in 12 innings on a Nellie Fox single. Mickey Mantle hits the first HR in the new park.

12th  President Johnson throws out the first ball, then watches as the Red Sox beat the Senators in DC, 7–2. Five Boston HRs tie a ML record for an opener and 7 total HRs set a ML record.

      Don Drysdale slugs his second opening day homer, this one a 2-run shot off New York’s Al Jackson. LA wins, 6–1, at Shea Stadium.

      Ed Bailey hits a game-ending HR to give Bob Veale and the Pirates a 1-0 win over the Giants. Juan Marichal serves up the 9th inning homer. Bailey is the first major leaguer to hit an Opening Day walkoff homer in a game that was scoreless to that point. Pittsburgh’s Neil Walker will match it in 2014.

      In Minnesota, the Yankees drop their second straight 11th inning opener, as the Twins win, 5–4.  Twins starter Jim Kaat, stranded because of the ice and snow, is brought to Metropolitan Stadium by helicopter. Kaat is matched by Jim Bouton, who goes five innings, giving up two earned runs. Bob Allison’s wind-blown fly ball in the 11th drops untouched for a three-base error by Hector Lopez, one of eight errors the two teams combine for. Cesar Tovar’s 2-out single scores the winner off Pedro Ramos.

      On opening day in Chicago, the Cards hand Bob Gibson a 5-run lead in the 1st inning against Larry Jackson. But the wind is blowing out and the game ends after 11 innings called because of darkness. The standoff is 10–10.  For the Cubs, Roberto Pena makes 3 errors in 7 chances but is 3-for-6 with HR and double. Ernie Banks hits the only other HR.

13th  At Crosley Field, Reds rookie Tony Perez connect for his first homer, a grand slam off Braves hurler Denny LeMaster, to help the Reds win, 8–3.

      At Dodger Stadium, Ralph Terry sets down the Angels on 4 hits and the Indians win, 7-1.  The Tribe does their scoring against three of the four California pitchers, including Dick Wantz in his only ML appearance.  The 25-year-old will be dead in a month from a brain tumor. Wantz had a 2-7 record as a reliever for Hawaii in the Pacific Coast League last year, but had a strong spring showing.

14th  In a banner finish, Al Spangler stars for the Astros by swiping home with the winning run in the 11th to give the Astros a 7–6 win over the Mets.

      In Washington, pitcher Earl Wilson gives the Senators a 2-0 lead with a 3rd inning homer off Buster Narum.  Narum retaliates with a 5th inning solo shot off Wilson as Buster emerges the winner in the 6-4 decision. Dick Radatz takes the loss.

15th  Gordy Coleman cracks a 5th-inning homer off former Red Bob Purkey as the Reds down the Cardinals, 10-4. Vada Pinson adds a 3-run homer off Purkey, who allows 9 runs. 

17th  In his first full ML game, Orioles LF Curt Blefary hits 2 HRs, as Baltimore loses 12–9 in Boston’s home opener. Yaz hits his first homer of the year and Frank Malzone drives in 4 runs.

      Don Drysdale ties a ML record by striking out 4 Phils—Wes Covington, Tony Gonzalez, Dick Stuart, and Clay Dalrymple—in order in the 2nd inning, but also gives up 2 HRs to lose 3–2. It is the 8th straight time the Phillies have beaten big Don.

      In Kansas City, the Yanks top the A’s, 5–2, with all of New York’s scoring coming via home runs. With NY ahead, 2–1, in the 8th, Maris walks and Mantle follows with his first homer of the year.

18th  California Angels rookie Rudy May has a no-hitter ruined in the 8th inning of his ML debut by Jake Wood’s double. The Angels lift him after 9 innings of one-hit ball, and Detroit wins in 13 innings.

19th  At a cost of $20,000, the outer Astrodome ceiling is painted because the sun’s glare makes fielding fly balls hazardous. Outfielders had been wearing batting helmets in preseason games because of the glare. Painting the skylights will reduce the lighting by nearly 40% and create the need for lights. But the lack of sunlight will cause the grass to die and spur the introduction of artificial turf.

      Jim Maloney pitches a one hitter as the Reds top the Braves, 2–0.  The only hit is Denis Menke’s single in the 8th inning.

20th At Boston, Felix Mantilla busts a 1st-inning grand slam off Buster Narum to power the Red Sox to a 5-2 win over Washington.

21st  At Yankee Stadium, Mantle puts New York ahead with a two-run homer in the first off Camilo Pascual, but the Twins come back to win 7–2.

25thAt Yankee Stadium, Mel Stottlemyre and California’s Rudy May lock up in a pitching duel until Mickey Mantle scores the only run of the game with a 4th inning solo shot into the left field bleachers.

27th The Phils set a team record with 6 HRs but still lose to the Giants 14–13. Dick Allen has 4 hits, including 2 homers, and scores 4 times. Willie McCovey has a 3-run homer and 4 RBIs for the Giants, who score the winning run in the 9th on a walkoff homer by Matty Alou.

      The Twins unload seven runs in the first inning and coast to an 11–1 win over the Indians.  The big blow is Camilo Pascual’s grand slam off Stan Williams, the 2nd grand slam of his career.  Pascual makes it easy as he tosses a two-hitter.

28th  Mets announcer Lindsey Nelson broadcasts the Mets-Astros game at the Astrodome from a hanging gondola, 208 feet above 2B. He sees plenty of action as Houston wins, 12–9.

29th  At Cincinnati, Pete Rose collects a homer, double and 3 singles as the Reds beat the Mets, 6–1.

      Masanori Murakami agrees to stay with the Giants in 1965 if he can return to Japan in 1966.

30th  The Mets Ron Swoboda loses a grand slam at Crosley Field in the 1st inning when his long drive to CF hits the temporary plywood wall atop the concrete fence and bounces back to Vada Pinson. The concrete is in play while the plywood is a homer. Second base umpire Frank Secory rules that the ball in in play, slicing the salami to a single. Coach Yogi Berra is ejected for arguing the call and after the game utters a classic line: “Anyone who can’t hear the difference between wood and concrete must be blind.” Pete Rose has five hits, including a homer in the 6th off Warren Spahn to knock him out of the box, as the Reds win, 6-1.