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President Johnson Attends Baseball’s Opening Day in Washington

Apr. 13, 1964 - The rites of spring were celebrated today before 40,145 persons at D.C. Stadium as the 1964 major league baseball season opened. Under a sky that was gray and swollen with rain that never fell, the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Washington Senators, 4-0, after President Johnson had thrown out the first and second balls. The President remained through the 2-hour-18-minute American League game.

Only pitcher Claude Osteen’s 400-foot double in the third inning prevented the Senators from becoming the second team in major league history to suffer a no-hit defeat in an opening game. Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox with a no-hitter, 1-0, on April 16, 1940.

Ken McBride and Julio Navarro combined their pitching talents to drop the Senators into the familiar confines of last place. That’s where they finished last year, 14½ games behind the ninth-place Angels. Today, they only hit six balls out of the infield. The new Senator mottos is “Off the Floor in ’64” — but not today.

Joe Adcock, the former National League star, belted a double and two singles for Los Angeles. He drove home the first run in the third inning. Billy Moran hit a wrong-field single to right and advanced to second when Jim Fregosi walked. Adcock then doubled to left.

The Angels added two in the fifth. Fregosi walked, and Adcock singled him to third, with Adcock taking second on the relay. Both scored on Lee Thomas’s single to center. The Angels’ final run came off Ron Kline, who relieved Osteen in the eighth. Bob Rodgers tripled and scored on Bobby Knoop’s sacrifice bunt.

“It’s nice to get that kind of pitching,” said jubilant Los Angeles manager Bill Rigney after the game. “McBride just tired and, with plenty of rested pitchers in our bullpen, there was no use punishing him. We were all mighty happy to see Joe [Adcock] get off to such a fine start. Just like [Angel general manager] Fred Haney said, he’ll help us a lot against southpaw pitching.”

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