April 7 is a memorable date in Los Angeles Dodgers history for multiple reasons, including in 1969 when Bill Singer recorded the first ever save in Major League Baseball. The save statistic was officially created during the 1968 Winter Meetings.
Singer made MLB history on Opening Day of the 1969 season, with the Dodgers facing the Cincinnati Reds on the road. It was just one of three games played, which is a far cry from current Opening Day, when essentially every team is in action.
Cincinnati took an early lead on the Dodgers as Pete Rose and Bobby Tolan started the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back home runs off Don Drysdale, who made what was a Dodgers franchise record (now held by Clayton Kershaw) seventh start on Opening Day.
L.A. cut their deficit in half in the second inning when Jim Lefebvre hit an RBI double, and took the lead for good in the third behind Ron Fairly’s two-run triple.
Drysdale blanked the Reds after allowing the home runs, getting through six innings. The ball was then handed to Singer, who spun three hitless innings to convert the save.
It was Singer’s only save and relief appearance of the season, and he finished with just two over a 14-year career. The 1969 season, an All-Star campaign for the right-hander, saw Singer win 20 games and pitch to a 2.34 ERA in 40 starts.
Frank Sinatra sings on Opening Day
While former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda is renowned for his fiery personality and ability to spark the team, he also enjoyed relationships that extended beyond the scope of baseball. One of those being with legendary musician Frank Sinatra.
After more than a decade of playing home openers at night, the Dodgers made a change in 1977. With Opening Day back to being an afternoon affair that season, the club tapped Sinatra to sing the National Anthem, which fulfilled a promise made to Lasorda in the event he ever became manager of the Dodgers.
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