Looking back 60 years to the Giants' first game in San Francisco

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Outfielder Willie Mays grabs a balloon during a parade on April 14, 1958 to welcome the San Francisco Giants after their move from New York. (AP Photo)

For baseball fans, few things beat Opening Day.

It could be the smell of freshly cut grass, vendors yelling "hot dogs here" or the first crack of the bat, but the day can generate hope for better days ahead, if only for an afternoon.

But few Opening Days can match the excitement that San Francisco showed 60 years ago when the Giants left New York and moved West.

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On April 14, 1958, 200,000 fans lined the streets of the city for a welcoming parade. It began at Seals Stadium in the Mission District and wound its way to Market Street in the Financial District.

The next day, the San Francisco Giants and the newly transplanted Los Angeles Dodgers played the first Major League Baseball game on the West Coast.

It was played at Seals Stadium in front of a sellout crowd of 23,448 fans.

The Giants got a jump on Dodgers pitcher, Don Drysdale, a future Hall of Famer, with two runs in the third inning.

Shortstop Daryl Spencer hit the first home run in San Francisco Giants history with a blast in the fourth inning.

The Giants lineup also included future Hall of Famers Willie Mays, who went 2 for 5 with two RBIs, and Orlando Cepeda, who made his MLB debut in the game and hit a home run in the fifth inning. Cepeda went on to become Rookie of the Year.
The Giants blanked their hated rivals 8-0. Giants starter Ruben Gomez threw a complete game shutout, got two hits and even drove in a run.

See the Box Score of the Giants first game in San Francisco

The Giants had a good inaugural season in San Francisco. The team went 80-74 with a 44-33 record at home and finished third in the National League standings.

The team played two seasons at Seals Stadium and then moved to newly-built Candlestick Park for the 1960 season. Seals Stadium was torn down.

On April 15, 2008, the Giants commemorated the 50th anniversary of their move West with a special ceremony at an outdoor shopping mall on 16th and Bryant Streets, the original site of Seals Stadium.

The Giants will have several promotions to celebrate their 60th anniversary in San Francisco, beginning with a giveaway of a Willie Mays 1958 parade bobblehead on April 7.

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