After seeing the season end prematurely in 1994 and the World Series cancelled, baseball
fans almost got to see the 1995 season played with replacement players before a
settlement in the labor dispute between MLB and the Players Association happened early
in the spring. With the players reporting later, the start of the season was pushed backed
to April 25 and each team was slated to play 144 games.
This put Opening Day (in this case Opening Night) on a Tuesday in Miami as the
Dodgers squared off against the Marlins. The Dodgers were hoping to build on their
success in 1994, when they were leading the NL West when the season ended. The
Marlins, in just their third season, were looking for respectability.
As both teams went out to the base lines for the Opening Day festivities, they were asked
to tip the caps to thank the fans for their patience. 42,125 Floridians booed lustily. And
not all the personnel were back as the umpires were on strike.
The Dodgers got to Burkett early when Mondesi hit a 2-run homer in the first, although
the Marlins got a run in the first and a solo home run from Pendleton in the second to tie
the game. The Dodgers scored three more times in the fifth to knock out Burkett in favor
of Terry Mathews.
In the seventh, the Dodgers scored three more times off of Matt Dunbar and John
Johnstone with Mondesi hitting his second home run of the game. The Dodgers would
have eight extra-base hits out of their total of 13 for the game.
Conine homered off of Dodger reliever Antonio Osuna in the eighth, but Lasorda sent
him back out for a third inning of work in the ninth, despite having a roster of 30 players
for a few weeks. After a strikeout of Andre Dawson, Osuna walked three batters and gave
up a single and a wild pitch and it was 8-4. Lasorda turned to his closer Todd Worrell,
who led the NL in blown saves in 1994 with 8. And Worrell almost blew it again giving
up two RBI singles to Pendleton and Colbrunn that made it 8-7. So Lasorda pulled Worrell and brought in Rudy Seanez who
struck out Johnson to end the game.
The Dodgers would go on to win the NL West in 1995 by one game over Colorado, who
won the wild card. Despite his shaky first day, Worrell would save 32 games for the
Dodgers with a 2.02 ERA. Piazza would slug 32 home runs and bat .346, but the real
story for the Dodgers was Japanese sensation Hideo Nomo, who led the NL in strikeouts
with 236 and jump started attendance in Los Angeles. The Dodgers would be swept by
Cincinnati in the Division Series however.
As for the Marlins, they escaped the cellar by a game and a half over Montreal. Injuries
limited Sheffield to just 63 games. Veras would lead the NL in steals in his rookie year
with 56, but also lead in caught stealing with 21.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference.