Dodger Stadium: A Fan's Salute
Blue Heaven: Our Lady of Chavez Ravine
It's hard to believe that Dodger Stadium, founded amidst controversy in the 1950s, is now one of the three oldest ballparks in baseball. Only the Cubs' Wrigley Field and the Red Sox's Fenway Park are older. The Los Angeles Dodgers have played in Dodger Stadium longer than the Brooklyn Dodgers played at Ebbetts Field.
Some baseball fans treasure newer, glitzier ballparks that resemble Las Vegas resorts more than old-fashioned sports arenas. But for generations of Dodger fans, Dodger Stadium has been Blue Heaven, fondly referred to as "Our Lady of Chavez Ravine."
Dodgers Stadium Stats
Building Started: 1959
Opened: April 10, 1962
Left, Center, Right Field:
330', 400', 330'
Dodger Stadium Panorama
by Jake N., Wikimedia Commons
The Music of Dodger Stadium - Organist Nancy Bea Hefley
If Vin Scully is the voice of the Dodgers, Nancy is the voice of Dodger Stadium. She has a habit of sneaking in audio puns. Or she'll soothe the pain after a loss by playing "the sun will come out tomorrow."
Why We Love Dodger Stadium - It's Blue Heaven For Us
Despite the formidable obstacles of LA traffic and Dodger stadium parking, millions of southern Californians and visitors make the pilgrimage to Chavez Ravine every year. In fact, Dodger Stadium has usually had the highest attendance record in baseball after Yankee Stadium for decades. Here's a few reasons this fan loves Dodger Stadium.
- Rain delays? What are those? Try blue skies and sun, all season long. Just remember the sunblock (but please, no beach balls).
- The voice of Vin Scully, Dodgers announcer for 60+ years (right back to Brooklyn), greeting you when you arrive, calling the play-by-play from monitors next to concessions and in restrooms .
- Nancy Bea Hefley's pipe organ music. Dodger execs take note: less video game music and eardrum-grinding noise, more Nancy!
- The view from the upper deck is spectacular: palm trees and the San Gabriel mountains shining against a California sunset. Here's what Vin has to say about it:
“Down on the field, a ballgame is just beginning. But the sunset becomes a major distraction because it's so overwhelming it's hard to take your eyes off it. And then the palm trees - there's a group of palm trees on the hill behind left field - they are defined against the sky, and they are turning colors with the sunset. You can't see that anywhere else in a ballpark.”
~ excerpt from Vin's description of Dodger Stadium
- A baseball stadium shaped like a baseball stadium, and all the sight lines are unobstructed. Sorry, Mets fans.
- The big "Think Blue" letters on the hillside behind the stadium, the Dodgers' version of the Hollywood sign.
- Retro colors for the seats. Unpopular owner Frank McCourt tried to replace them with blue and orange (Giants color?!) but fans insisted he restore them -- it was like ripping the ivy out of Wrigley Field.
- The zigzag outfield pavilion with the retired numbers of past Dodger greats -- yes, Brooklyn too.
- Farmer John's Dodger Dogs. The lines are long, but the grilled (not boiled) dogs are worth the wait.
- Getting to sit out on the field and watch the fireworks after a game.
Dodger Stadium, A View From the Upper Deck
Dodger Stadium Trivia and History
2012 Was Its 50th Anniversary from Its Original Opening Day
Here's just a few tidbits from Dodger Stadium's long and storied history.
- When the stadium opened in 1962, it was discovered that the foul poles were completely in foul territory. The stadium received a dispensation from MLB to wait until winter to move them.
- The first home run in Dodger Stadium was hit on April 10, 1962: Opening Day. Unfortunately, it was hit by Wally Post of the Cincinnati Reds. (Here's the box score).
- The Royals' Kauffman Stadium was designed to "incorporate the best of Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium." That includes the fountain in the outfield; Dodger Stadium's original plan called for a center field fountain that would turn colors when the Dodgers hit a home run!
- However, in the end, Dodger Stadium opened with no fountains... not even drinking fountains. More incentive to buy a beer, of course.
- Bo Belinsky threw the first ever no-hitter in Dodger Stadium on May 5, 1962 while pitching for the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels played in Dodger Stadium for four years before moving to the Big A.
- Dodger Stadium is the only symmetrical ballpark left in the National League, and only one of four in the majors.
- It is also only one of two in service to be built entirely with private funding: the other, naturally enough, is AT&T Park. (The last one before Dodger Stadium was the original Yankee Stadium).
- Asterix: Of course, that doesn't count the property seized by the city of Los Angeles from the inhabitants of Chavez Ravine. Most of the damage was done before the O'Malleys came on scene, but the last few residents were pushed out after Mayor Norris Poulson offered the site to the Dodgers.
Dodger Stadium Events
1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1988
All-Star Game: 1980
Olympics Opening Ceremonies: 1991
World Baseball Classic: 2009
24, including Sandy Koufax's Perfect Game
Sandy Koufax's Perfect Game - Highlight of Dodger Stadium's Early History, 1965
The Dodgers quickly banished bad feelings with great baseball and several World Series championships! Here's a historic audio recording of one of the great moments at Dodger Stadium: Sandy Koufax's Perfect Game, called by the immortal Vin Scully.
In memory of what was
More Dodger Stadium Trivia and History
Great Moments in Dodger Stadium History
- Three players have hit home runs out of Dodger Stadium: Willie Stargell (twice), Mike Piazza and Mark McGwire. The longest was the first: Stargell's 506½ feet, on August 5, 1969." Matt Holliday nearly added his name to the list, but was thwarted by one of the "three sisters," the palm trees at the back of the Dodger bullpen.
- Ballparks of Baseball reminds those of us who had blotted it from our memories that Dodger Stadium hosted the Cards' Fernando Tatis hitting two grand slams in one inning in 1999, both of them off of Chan Ho Park. Ouch. The feat has yet to be repeated.
- On a happier note, many of us fondly remember September 18, 2006: back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs, the last off Padre closer ace Trevor Hoffman, followed by a walk-off homer from Nomar in the 10th. The Dodgers were the fourth team in history to homer four in a row. Naturally, the sports media wet themselves... when the Sox did it a year later, minus the walk-off (Oddly, J.D. Drew was a party in both).
- And what Dodger fan can forget winning the 2004 division title by coming back from a 3-0 deficit with the Giants, bottom of the 9th, with Steve Finley's grand slam?
- Back to more general trivia: Dodger Stadium has had 17 rainouts in 49 years, only one in its first 14 years.
- While Dodger Stadium has long been known as a pitcher's park, some of that has been trimmed away by the McCourts' renovations, which added 1600 "Baseline Box Seats" in what was formerly foul territory around both dugouts.
- In 2003, Dodger fan Juan Catalan was acquitted of murder after video footage confirmed his alibi: at the time of the murder, he had been in the stands of Dodger Stadium, taking his young daughter to watch the Dodgers play.
- Unfortunately, I can't mention that event without acknowledging the brutal beating of Bryan Stow in the stadium parking lot. The culprits were jailed, and his family received $15 million from the team in a lawsuit (and donations from many fans), but... we haven't forgotten you, Bryan. We're so sorry.
More Great Moments at Dodger Stadium
The Kirk Gibson Home Run
Sandy Koufax's Perfect Game
Rick Monday saves the American flag
The Beatles Concert 1966
Pope John Paul II's Mass for LA 1987
Rick Monday Saves the American Flag - Dodger Stadium, 1975
Other Dodger Stadium Links - For More Information
Go to the link above for information on the Dodger Stadium tour. But here's some additional info on Dodger Stadium, plus the pages I used for some of the historical info on Chavez Ravine and Brooklyn.
Nancy being cute
- Chavez Ravine: The History of Chavez Ravine
Excellent PBS article on the tragedy of Chavez Ravine and why all those families got pushed out.
- The History of Dodger Stadium
The O'Malley's official website tells a nostalgic picture of Dodger Stadium. Of course, that's not the whole story, but it's a nice one to tell the kids...
- Ballparksofbaseball.com Reviews Dodger Stadium
Info and good photos of the stadium. Lots of useful information on renovations and changes to the stadium (like McCourt putting all those box seats in what used to be foul territory, sigh.)
- ESPN Page 2 Dodger Stadium Tour
Columnist Eric Neel gives a great, honest review of the joys and threadbare parts of Dodger Stadium. On the one hand, this review is at least 5 years old, as it's talking about Gagne Game Over time. On the other hand, Dodger Stadium doesn't change al
- Dodger Stadium Renovations | dodgers.com
Not updated since 2006, this official Dodgers page has lots of photos and information on the building and renovation of Dodger Stadium through the years.
- Baseball Reference's page on Dodgers Attendance
A few stats and figures for Dodger Stadium. Interesting to see the drop-off in attendance last year: not much, because Dodger fans show up to a tune of 3 million even in bad years, but I suspect the McCourts, not the team, are the reason for the dip.
- MLB Road Trip 2001 - Dodger Stadium
Another good, impartial, informal review of Dodger Stadium.
- Dodger Stadium: The Next 50 Years | dodgers.com
In 2009, the Dodgers revealed this plan for the "next fifty years." Renovations and changes continue... we'll see what actually happens once the McCourt fiasco is finished.
Danny Kaye's "The D-O-D-G-E-R-S Song" - Broadcast During Dodger Stadium's First Season
Dodger fan Danny Kaye recorded this hilarious hit during Dodger Stadium's first season, 1962, a dramatic pennant race. While the Dodgers did indeed lose this year, they won the pennant -- and the World Series -- in 1963.
Have You Ever Been to Dodger Stadium? - For Fans of Baseball
Have you ever paid a visit to Dodger Stadium?
Dodgers Stadium in the Tenth Inning - What Was That About Fans Leaving Early?
(This was the game when four Dodgers hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the 9th.)
© 2011 Ellen Brundige