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`Fernandomania' sweeps L.A.

April 09, 2006

April 9, 1981: A 20-year-old rookie left-hander from Sonora, Mexico, opened the Los Angeles Dodgers' home season with a stunner: a 106-pitch, five-hit shutout win over the Houston Astros. The day before, Fernando Valenzuela had thrown batting practice, unaware that he would be on the mound for the opener, because veteran left-hander Jerry Reuss was scheduled to start. However, Reuss injured himself in a team workout and Valenzuela got the call. Fans took to him. In the coming weeks, what came to be known as "Fernandomania" swept the city, repeatedly filling Dodger Stadium when he pitched. Valenzuela went on to become both the National League's Rookie of the Year and the first rookie to be honored with the Cy Young Award.

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