It was a historical day indeed for the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the organization celebrated their recent championship and the first home game of the 2021 season, April 9, 2021, also marked the 40th anniversary that a young 20-year old pitcher from Sonora, Mexico became an instant icon. After Jerry Reuss injured himself the day before, rookie Fernando Valenzuela was given the honor and took Dodger Nation by storm, sparking Fernandomania. Valenzuela spent part of 11 seasons in Los Angeles with his best years being from 1981-1986.
In honor of the Dodger great and the start of Fernandomania just 40 years ago, here are 3 of his most memorable moments in Dodger Blue.
First Career Start on Opening Day
Valenzuela had made his Major League debut during the 1980 season where he there just 17 2/3 innings out of the pen and allowed just two unearned runs. Who knew that the following season he would be thrust into the Opening Day gig? Dare I say fate?
On April 9, 1981, rookie Fernando Valenzuela replaced injured Jerry Reuss and threw a complete game, 5-hit shutout in his 1st Major League start: a 2-0 win over the Astros.
Fernando won the Cy Young, Rookie of the…