It came on Wednesday, April 6, 1977, with venerable Diego Segui, the Ancient Mariner, battling the Angels’ Frank Tanana. And it was not auspicious: Segui allowed six runs, four earned, in three and two-thirds innings as the Mariners lost 7-0 (the same score as the Pilots’ first game at Sicks’ Stadium in 1969).
A close-up shot of Segui’s cap flying off with a first-inning pitch:
Mariners shortstop Craig Reynolds: “Yes, we were jittery, so many people and all that. Once we got untracked, we played decently. We’ll be back.”
Mariners manager Darrell Johnson on John Montague, who relieved for Segui: “Montague pitched like a son-of-a-gun. He was something else. “
And: “Tanana was just too much for us tonight. I don’t have complaints except for Mr. Tanana. But he didn’t embarrass our hitters. We got nine hits.”
Montague: “I felt real strong, real good. I was a starter all last season in the minors. Boy, this was the biggest crowd I ever pitched before.”
The Seattle Times reported Commissioner Bowie Kuhn “drew the loudest boos” before he left game early to get to Toronto for the Blue Jays opening game.
Senator Henry Jackson threw out the first ball, and Rod Belcher, writer of “Go, Go, You Pilots,” operated the Kingdome scoreboard. The West Bremerton High School marching band performed before a crowd of 57, 762 that set the MLB record for a night opener, and Joe Rudi, with the Angels after a nice career with the A’s, hit the Kingdome’s first homer, a two-run job “that soared 21 rows into the left-field seats.”