Friday, June 26, 2009

San Francisco Giants Opening Day April 15, 1958

The lineup:
Leading off and playing third base, Jimmy Davenport. Today is his major league debut game.
Batting second and playing left field, Jim King. His career as a Giant would include 34 games and 12 base hits.
Batting third and playing center field, Willie Mays. He was three weeks shy of his 27th birthday.
Batting fourth and playing right field, Willie Kirkland. Also in his ML debut, he would play 9 years in the majors with a career average of .240 and 148 HR.
Batting fifth and playing first base, Orlando Cepeda. The third Giant playing his first ever ML game, he would be Rookie of the Year in the NL in 1958. And of course end up in Cooperstown.
Batting sixth and playing shortstop, Daryl Spencer. Has been the team's every day SS for a few years already.
Batting seventh and playing second base, Danny O'Connell. Also a returning starter.
Batting eighth and catching, Valmy Thomas. A part-timer whose ML career comprised 252 games over 5 seasons.
Batting ninth and pitching, Ruben Gomez. His nickname: "El Divino Loco."

The box score:
Notice that all nine starters finished the game. The Giants beat the Dodgers 8-0. Don Drysdale was the loser.

The first pitch. (Thanks Tubesox Nation.)


JC Parsons said...

It is amazing that the #1, 4 and 5 hitters were all pure rookies! What a shake up! Somebody in mangement had some balls and good judgement cuz they all ended up being total studs (to varying degrees). Can you imagine that ever happening nowadays?

Bob said...

Bob Schmidt would be the #1 catcher, Hank Sauer would be the usual LF.
The Giants record for '58 was 80-74, third place.
Home attendance for the season was 1,272,625.

tubesox said...

I'm enjoying the Seals Stadium/Giants history and glad that the first pitch photo could be of service. Twenty years ago, I bought that photo from my landlord in Noe Valley (a die-hard collector of bobbleheads who lost several of his prize specimens in the '89 earthquake).