Programming note: Tomorrow from 2-7 p.m. on KABC, you can hear an extended version of DodgerTalk with Ken Levine and Josh Suchon…among the guests they’ll have on are Ned Colletti, Eric Karros and a number of different reporters from around the NL West breaking down the division. They’ll also give regular updates about the game in San Francisco.
And now this, from team historian Mark Langill…
Rookie second baseman Jim Lefebvre had big plans for his first Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on April 20, 1965. After spending the first week on the road to begin the season, the Dodgers played host to the lowly New York Mets and their 43-year-old starting pitcher.
Lefebvre, who grew up in nearby Inglewood, invited his friends and family to the team’s home opener. By the end of the night, he was fuming after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn, who scattered eight hits in a 3-2 victory. It was one of the last gems for Spahn, who went a combined 7-16 with the Mets and Giants during his final Major League season in 1965.
After the game, Lefebvre angrily made a scene near the dugout tunnel and began tossing bats when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around and saw a familiar face.
According to Lefebvre, pitcher Sandy Koufax calmly advised, “We don’t do that around here; we save the fight for the field. You might as well go back to the minors if you’re going to act that way.”
Lefebvre, who went on to win National League Rookie of the Year honors in 1965, recalled that story last summer visiting Dodger Stadium as coach of the Chinese national baseball team during preparations for the Summer Olympics in Beijing. He also had a chance during a stadium tour to show Team China a photo of the final out of the 1965 World Series at Minnesota in which Lefebvre and first baseman Wes Parker are rushing to congratulate Koufax after his 2-0 victory in Game 7.
Lefebvre, who played with Los Angeles through 1972, is now the hitting coach of the San Diego Padres.