April 25 is an important date in Los Angeles Dodgers history for events that occurred at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and Dodger Stadium, some 18 years apart, and with one involving Rick Monday during his time as an opposing player.
After moving from Brooklyn before the 1958 season, the Dodgers played their home games at the Coliseum prior to settling into their Chavez Ravine home in 1962. And on April 25, 1968, the Dodgers earned a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in front of a record crowd.
With 60,635 fans in attendance, it set a National League record for the largest crowd to attend a regular-season night game. The mark was broken when 61,552 fans were in attendance for Opening Night the following season.
On the April night of the Dodgers’ inaugural season in Los Angeles, they fell behind in the first inning before scoring a run in the fourth and two in the fifth. St. Louis cut their deficit in half in the sixth inning and again pulled to within a run in the eighth.
The Dodgers pushed a run across in both the seventh and eighth innings to notch just their fourth win of the season. Norm Larker led the Dodgers with three RBI and tied for a team high with three hits.
Rick Monday, American hero
With the Dodgers hosting the Chicago Cubs on April 25, 1976, Rick Monday made a save unlike any other seen in baseball.
During the fourth inning of the matchup at Dodger Stadium, two fans ran onto the field from the left-field pavilion to set fire to a United States flag as a symbol of protest.
Their attempt was thwarted by Monday, then with the Cubs, who ran over and snatched the flag before it could be set ablaze. The protestors were a father and son, and one threw lighter fluid in Monday’s direction as he escaped with the flag.
Monday later said he was motivated by his experiences with veterans and visits to veterans’ hospitals. His hope was to preserve respect for military figures all over the United States and abroad.
The 1965 first-round pick was awarded with the flag after the incident. Former Dodgers vice president of player personnel Al Campanis presented Monday the flag, which he still possess this day.
Monday was sent to the Dodgers the following season as part a five-player trade with the Cubs. He spent eight seasons with Los Angeles, finishing his career with the Dodgers. Of course, Monday is now one of the team’s radio broadcasters.
In 2016, Monday threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium on the 40th anniversary of his heroic act.
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