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A’s OPEN TO 33,000

DATE OF EVENT: Tuesday, April 12, 1955

DATE PUBLISHED: Tuesday, April 12, 1955, in The Kansas City Star

Editor’s note: The inaugural game of the Kansas City A’s marked the first return of major league baseball to the city since the failure of the Cowboys in 1886. In their first game, the A’s beat Detroit 6-2, with an audience of 32,844 in attendance.

The greatest throng ever to observe a professional baseball game here poured through the gates of the magnificent Kansas City Municipal stadium today to witness one of the most momentous events of the city’s existence — the inauguration of major league baseball.

Approximately 33,000 fans jammed all seats and most standing space as the Kansas City Athletics and the Detroit Tigers opened the 1955 American League season. An uproarious cheer sounded through the steel and concrete stadium as the home team trotted across the damp turf to their stations of play.

The umpire’s familiar cry, “Play Ball!” rang out at about 2:04 o’clock, and Alex Kellner then tossed the first ball to Harvey Kuenn of the Detroit club. A few minutes earlier the A’s had trotted out on the field and a huge roar went up.

Although the pre-game festivities were cancelled because of the wet condition of the field, there was no lessening of the fervor and enthusiasm of the tens of thousands who had been streaming in to the huge stands since morning.

Every available ticket had been sold. Some fans were being turned away because the left field line wasn’t considered in condition to handle too great an overflow. But 2,000 standing room only tickets were sold promptly.

The weather co-operated. After a morning in which the sun very capriciously veiled itself in the mist of April clouds and gave doubts to spectators and officials, there occurred at about noon a sudden burst of sunlight. By game time conditions were nearly ideal, although there was a prediction of rain later in the afternoon.

It was an impressive, colorful hour for baseball and for Kansas City. Everywhere throughout the stands there was evidence of gaiety, enthusiasm and confidence in the A’s, a team forecast to finish last by all but the home-town supporters.

The moment was at hand, a spectacular, almost incredible moment of joy, fascination and intrigue for the tens of thousands who through long months of waiting had finally come to realize that what had seemed simply a dream was, indeed, true.

They had come very early to wait in line, the first of these fans, and others who had purchased tickets in advance clutched with a strange fondness the rare, almost priceless pasteboards, which permitted their entry to a spectacle never before witnessed in the vast expanses of the Missouri Valley.

At 11 o’clock the gates were opened and the crowds began to enter. From then on it was a continuing stream, a parade of happy partisans intent on cheering to the deep depths of their lungs for the success of the Athletics.

By 12:30 o’clock, 12,000 spectators had entered the gigantic arena and there was no end to the torrent, for the game still was ninety minutes away. In time, the stands, appearing like a strange, wondrous thing to fans who had been accustomed to the more diminutive size of the old Blues stadium, filled to capacity.

NOTE: An additional page one story detailed the preparations of the field.

FIELD IN SHAPE

Grounds crew works entire morning to prepare park after heavy rain

Open without a ceremony

Because of mud, only the toss of first ball by Truman is included

Players take the field after only pepper practice in the outfield

By Ernest Mehl

All pre-game ceremonies were trimmed to the minimum and the rival opening game teams, the A’s and the Detroit Tigers, did without the customary batting and fielding drills as Kansas Citians jammed the Municipal stadium for the city’s major league baseball debut.

The hard rains last night left the part of the field not protected by the infield tarpaulin muddy enough to require considerable work.

As a result the players had to content themselves with pepper games in the outfield since Parks Carroll, business manager, decided not to remove the tarpaulin until a few minutes before the game was scheduled to start. …

All ceremonies scheduled before the game were cancelled except that of the former president, Harry S. Truman, throwing out the first ball.

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