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Opening Day 2012: Dodger Stadium Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Clayton Kershaw starts the home opener for the Dodgers for the third straight year.

Overhead view of Dodger Stadium on March 2, 1962, which shows the construction of the outfield pavilions (<em>Photo: LA Dodgers</em>)
Overhead view of Dodger Stadium on March 2, 1962, which shows the construction of the outfield pavilions (Photo: LA Dodgers)

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium as the Dodgers host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday afternoon. Fifty years to the day after Johnny Podres started the first ever game at the stadium, reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw takes the ball for the Dodgers in their 2012 home opener.

Before the first-ever game at Dodger Stadium, on April 10, 1962, the ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by Kay O'Malley, the wife of then team owner Walter O'Malley. Before Tuesday's game in Los Angeles, O'Malley's daughter Terry Seidler, herself a former part owner of the team, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

In their 50 years at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers have won 2,272 games and lost 1,714 times, a .570 winning percentage. The ballpark has hosted eight World Series, 10 no-hitters, and two perfect games.

The 1962 Dodgers as a group will be honored before the game on Thursday, including National League MVP Maury Wills (then-record 104 steals, 130 runs scored, Tommy Davis (batting title at .346, franchise record 153 RBI), and the family of NL Cy Young winner Don Drysdale (25-9 with 232 strikeouts).

For Kershaw, this is his third straight start in the home opener, becoming the first Dodgers pitcher to start three straight home openers since Claude Osteen started six straight from 1965-1970.

Kershaw looks to be fully recovered from the stomach flu that knocked him out after just three innings on opening day in San Diego. But those three innings were scoreless frames for Kershaw, even though he was only hitting the high 80s on his fastball. He reached back for a 92 MPH fastball to strikeout Chase Headley with the bases loaded to end the third inning, the final pitch of the game for Kershaw.

"To do what he did tonight, to give us three innings, when he was dying in the training room, it was pretty awesome," catcher A.J. Ellis said on Thursday.

In 16 home starts last season, Kershaw allowed 22 runs. He was 12-1 with a 1.69 ERA and won his last 11 decisions in Los Angeles.

Kevin Correia gets the call on the mound for Pittsburgh, who won two of three games over the weekend against the Phillies. The Dodgers took three of four in San Diego against the Padres.

For more news and information on Dodgers baseball, be sure to read True Blue LA.