High atop a hillside known as “Chavez Ravine”, and just a stone’s throw from the City of Angels, lies a magical place where the inhabitant’s blood runs blue – Dodger Blue. From April until October of every year from 1962 to the present, the air has filled with the fragrant smoke of grilled foot-long Dodger Dogs, cheers from a legion of loyal fans, and the soothing, fatherly voice of Vin Scully to celebrate the wins, and comfort during the defeats. Fans and players agree that when it comes to Major League ballparks, Dodger Stadium scores a home run.
The Dodgers have called the Los Angeles stadium their home ever since its completion in 1962. Relocated from Brooklyn’s famed Ebbett’s field in 1957, where the Boys of Summer played for 45 years, the Dodgers were forced to endure a few years at the non-baseball-friendly Los Angeles Coliseum before finally moving into their future digs. And, oh, what digs they were.
Architect, Emil Praeger, designed the futuristic (for its time, at least) ballpark to accommodate 56,000 screaming fans. The stadium, third oldest in the country, is kept in pristine condition and completely repainted during each off-season to ensure that it always looks its best. Both the stadium and the playing field itself have long been considered one of the cleanest and best kept in all of baseball.
Over the years, loyal Dodgers fans have flocked to the stadium in droves. Granted, being in Los Angeles, they also have the reputation for coming a little late and leaving a little early, but their loyalty to their team never wavers. Besides, for the past six decades (not a typo), they have had the privilege of listening to Vin Scully on the radio, one of the most iconic voices in sports history. Listening to Scully is the next best thing to being at Dodger Stadium and, in fact, many fans bring AM radios to the games, just so they can hear him call the game in his inimitable style.
Dodger fan loyalty can also be attributed to the rich baseball history that accompanies the park. Over the years, fans have been treated to eight world series, including the amazing 1988 season when a broken and battered Kirk Gibson limped up to the plate and pinch hit a miraculous home run that eventually stole the assumed series victory from the Oakland A’s. To date, it is considered one of the most memorable moments in sports history.
Fans in the 60s gathered to watch Koufax and Drysdale fan the opposition. In the 70’s, it was the mainstay infield of Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey. With the 80’s came the overnight phenomenon of “Fernandomania” that rallied the city’s Hispanic population like no other player ever has. And throughout these events, there was the verbose and beloved long-time manager of many years, Tommy Lasorda, to vehemently argue with the umpires when he felt his boys had been treated unfairly, as the fans roared and cheered him on. In short, Dodger Stadium has provided generations with a lifetime of cherished baseball memories.
The stadium has hosted a number of other notable events over the years, including concerts by The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkle, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, and The Three Tenors, to name a few. It hosted the baseball events of the 1984 Olympic Games, and has hosted a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game and even a boxing match.
Still, the park shines at its finest when used in the way it was intended, as a ballpark unlike any other. This is the way that baseball was meant to be experienced, with an AM radio at your side, hearing the game called as only the poetic Vin Scully can, and with an ample supply of peanuts, Cracker Jack and, of course, Dodger Dogs, by your side. It’s a tradition as American as red, white and blue – Dodger blue.
If you have fond memories of visiting this historic ballpark as a kid, we welcome them in our comments section, as we pay tribute to Dodger Stadium.