A Look Back at the Padres’ Inaugural Game

Padres 1969 Season

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Credit: AP Photo

Opening Day 2019 has finally arrived, and the San Diego Padres are gearing up to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

The Padres became a major league franchise in 1969, and throughout the season, the organization will look back at its 50-year history and highlight some of the (few) bright moments throughout that existence.

The Padres will open the 2019 season against their National League West rivals, the San Francisco Giants. Eric Lauer was named the Opening Day starter last week. He will take the mound against the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner.

The Padres are opening their season at Petco Park, very similar to how they began their history as a major league franchise. Sure, they now play in a much newer, much more modern stadium, and there will be a lot more fanfare during the pregame ceremony. Expect to see a giant American flag unfurled in the outfield while the national anthem is performed. Expect to see military jets fly over during the last stanza of the song.

The Padres played their inaugural game in what at the time was called San Diego Stadium. It was later changed to Jack Murphy Stadium, which then became Qualcomm Stadium, and is now called San Diego County Credit Union Stadium. Their inaugural game was played against the Houston Astros.

San Diego won that game 2-1, thanks to an RBI-double by “Downtown” Ollie Brown and a home run from Ed Spiezio. Spiezio’s home run came in the fifth inning, tying the score 1-1.

Dick Selma was the first pitcher to pitch for the major league Padres, and he was the only one to pitch that day. He threw a complete game, allowing a run on five hits. He gave up an RBI-single to Houston’s Doug Rader in the first inning but kept the damage limited to only that.

Meanwhile, the Astros’ Don Wilson held the Padres scoreless until the fifth inning, Spiezio’s blast tied the game. The next inning, Brown hit a double that drove home Roberto Pena and giving the Padres a 2-1 lead.

It was a narrow lead, but it was all Selma needed to ensure the win for his team on Opening Day. He notched 12 strikeouts and issued just two walks.

The Padres finished that inaugural season with a 52-110 record, tying the expansion Montreal Expos for the worst record in the majors. However, baseball fans in San Diego were smiling on April 8, 1969. Their new major league team picked up a win on Opening Day.

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