Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 1950: The Birds Take Down the Bucs on Opening Night

     On April 18, 1950, more than 20,000 souls witnessed the first Opening Night game in the history of Major League Baseball at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, and watched the Cardinals knock off the Pirates by the score of 4-2. Red Schoendienst and Stan Musial delighted the crowd by hitting home runs in the contest, while the kid from The Hill, Joe Garagiola went 3 for 3 with an RBI.

     Red got things going early for the Redbirds by hitting a solo shot in the first, while Musial matched him with a solo shot to lead things off in the third. The Cardinals starter, Gerry Staley, ran into some trouble in the sixth after allowing a double and a walk, which led to Johnny Hopp knocking in both runners to tie the ballgame at 2-2. However, Staley stood tall through it all, and gave the Cardinals nine full innings of work, settling down the rest of the way. The hurler watched the Redbirds retake the lead in the sixth on the ribbie by Garagiola, than he watched Enos Slaughter and an insurance run with a two out single that brought Schoendienst trotting into score during the seventh. That would be the ballgame, as Staley held the Pirates at bay the rest of the night.

The artwork featured with today's fact appeared in The Post Dispatch  the following day.  It was done by Amadee Wohlschlaeger, who drew the Post's Weatherbird, along with many moments in sports around St. Louis as well. I always feel lucky to see his work, and will try to share it as often as possible. He was really something special. This piece was featured on in 2014 when he passed away at the age of 102:

Check out the box score here:

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