LOS ANGELES — The five living Dodgers Cy Young Award winners were all at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, including Orel Hershiser, Eric Gagné, and Fernando Valenzuela throwing out ceremonial first pitches as part of opening day pregame festivities.
Valenzuela understandably got the largest ovation from the crowd, feted like royalty, befitting the pitcher who will have his number 34 retired in August.
Those three pitchers each one one Cy Young Award — Valenzuela in 1981, Hershiser in 1988, and Gagné in 2003. They were greeted near the dugout after their first pitches by Sandy Koufax, who won three Cy Young Awards (1963, 1965, 1966). The Dodgers’ other three-time Cy Young Award winner starts Saturday against Arizona.
A gift from the new guy
Jason Heyward gave every Dodgers player and coach a bottle of wine on opening day, a 2020 cabernet sauvignon from Caymus Vineyards.
“That’s just kind of a microcosm of what Jason does. He’s a team-first guy. Those things, how to carry yourself as a veteran, as a teammate, go a long way,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We’ve been fortunate enough in my tenure to have a lot of great veteran ballplayers, and Jason is right there at the top. I’m going to be counting on him a lot.”
I did not catch Heyward before the game, but Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times did.
Every #Dodgers player got a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon today, courtesy of Jason Heyward— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) March 30, 2023
The meaning behind the gift?
“It takes time to get where we want to go,” Heyward said. “There’s a lot of grind in that process. But at the end of the day, there’s positivity.”
Roberts, who along with his wife is part owner of a vineyard, added, “Suffice it to say, I got a different bottle than the group. I can appreciate his feel for my palate.”
Max Muncy struck out in all five trips to the plate Thursday, just the second hitter in major league history with five strikeouts on opening day, joining White Sox catcher Ron Karkovice in 1996.
“It’s safe to say he’s not going to punch five times again this year,” Roberts said. “I don’t think he saw Gallen well today. He had a great spring, he’s healthy. Tomorrow will be a nice night for him.”
In addition to James Outman wearing number 33 this year after donning 77 last year, pitcher Andre Jackson is now wearing number 44, after wearing 94 during his last two seasons. Jackson said this was really the first time he had a chance to pick his own number, plus he was happy wearing 94 since he did pretty well during his major league stints, with a 2.11 ERA in 21⅓ innings in 2021-22.
He said he picked 44 because he thought it was cool.
“The number has a good history. Hank Aaron, Reggie [Jackson],” Jackson said. “That’s probably a good omen.”
The first Fox assignment for Joe Davis this season comes Saturday afternoon in New York, calling Yankees vs. Giants. He’ll be gone the next two days, returning to broadcast Sunday’s finale of Dodgers-Diamondbacks. Stephen Nelson, hired in January to call over 50 games on SportsNet LA this season, will call the Friday and Saturday games in this series.