Gino Cimoli dies at 81; Dodgers’ first West Coast batter

Gino Cimoli, a Dodger outfielder in Brooklyn and Los Angeles who was the first major league batter on the West Coast when the Dodgers and Giants moved to California in 1958, has died. He was 81.

Cimoli died Saturday at Sutter Roseville Medical Center in Roseville, Calif., of kidney and heart complications, said his longtime companion, Lorraine Vigli.

The Dodgers opened their first season in California on April 15, 1958, against the Giants at Seals Stadium in San Francisco. Cimoli, who was born in San Francisco, struck out against the Giants’ Ruben Gomez to start the game. The Giants won 8-0.

“Gino was a part of history not just as a member of both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, but throughout the game of baseball because of his role in the first-ever big league game on the West Coast,” the Dodgers said in a statement. “The rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants picked up where it left off in New York, and Gino was the fortunate one to lead off that afternoon in his hometown.”


Cimoli, a right-handed hitter, played 10 seasons in the major leagues with a career .265 batting average. He started with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956 and was an All-Star in 1957. He also scored the Dodgers’ final run at Ebbets Field in a 2-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 24, 1957.

He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the 1958 season.

Cimoli also played for the Pirates on their 1960 World Series championship team and for the Milwaukee Braves, the Kansas City Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles before finishing his career with the Angels in 1965.

Cimoli was born Dec. 18, 1929, and lived in San Francisco until recently moving to Roseville, near Sacramento.

In addition to Vigli, Cimoli’s survivors include daughters Cheryll Keast and Linda Close, three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.