April 12, 1969, San Diego: Giants 5, Padres 1 (box score)
In the first Saturday game at San Diego Stadium, the Padres and Giants drew just 20,356 people. I know this sounds like a terrible turnout, but consider that 12 big-league games were played that day. Of those, only the Reds at Braves and the Expos at Cubs drew larger crowds. Two teams (Cardinals and Tigers) had drawn as many as 2 million people the previous season, and it took them a combined 200 victories and a date in the World Series.
Context is everything.
To the game at hand, right-hander Al McBean got the call for the Padres. On the other side, San Francisco skipper Clyde King sent future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal to the mound.
McBean, a former mainstay in the Pirates bullpen, held his own against Marichal through the first five innings. Then in the sixth, after Bobby Bonds dropped a bunt single to lead off the inning and moved to second on a passed ball by Chris Cannizzaro, Willie McCovey doubled to right to plate the game’s first run.
In the bottom of the seventh, now down 2-0, the Padres finally broke through against Marichal. Tony Gonzalez laced a one-out single to left. After Ollie Brown popped out to second, Bill Davis and Cito Gaston followed with singles to account for San Diego’s only run.
McCovey and Jim Davenport connected for solo homers in the eighth to seal the deal. The Padres managed to load the bases in the bottom half of the inning, but Brown ground to third to end the threat. Marichal then retired the Padres in order in the ninth to earn the first of his 21 wins that season.
As for McBean, he’d given the Padres seven strong innings in his debut for the expansion club. Six days later, with just the one start under his belt, McBean was shipped north to the Dodgers for shortstop Tommy Dean and right-hander Leon Everitt — a trade that helped neither team.
Trivia: McBean is the first big-league player and only pitcher ever to hail from Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands.