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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
First indoor baseball game played at Astrodome
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

April 9, 1965

For the first time, baseball goes indoors. It's the debut of the Astrodome, which The New York Times calls "the world's largest air-conditioned room." Others call it the "eighth wonder of the world."

The 260-acre stadium, built at a cost of $31.6 million, rises to a peak of 208 feet over second base. There are 4,596 plastic panels. Banks of red, orange, yellow and blue theater seats surround a field of artificial grass. The Yankees, the Houston Astros' opponent in tonight's exhibition game, are impressed. "Fantastic," says pitcher Jim Bouton. "No, indescribable. No, science fiction."

Because of the glare from the dome, the teams experiment with orange baseballs before a crowd of 47,876, including President Lyndon Johnson.

Yankees manager Johnny Keane puts Mickey Mantle in the leadoff spot so he can have the honor of being the first to bat in the Astrodome. Mantle singles on the second pitch from Dick Farrell. In the sixth inning, Mantle becomes the first to homer in the stadium. It's the Yankees' only run as they lose to the Astros, 2-1, on pinch-hitter Nellie Fox's run-scoring single in the 12th inning.

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