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Dodger Stadium

By Wikipedia

Dodger Stadium, in Los Angeles, California, has been the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball team since 1962. It was also the home of the Los Angeles Angels between 1962 and 1965. It is also, despite Art Moreno's fantasies, the only place in the city to watch Major League Baseball.

At a glance...
Facility statistics
Location 1000 Elysian Park Ave.
Los Angeles, California
Broke ground September 17, 1959
Opened April 10, 1962
Replaced Memorial Coliseum (1962)
Owner Los Angeles Dodgers
Surface Santa Ana Bermuda Grass
Construction cost $23M
Architect Emil Praeger
Los Angeles Dodgers (1962-)
Los Angeles Angels (1962-1965)
Seating capacity
56,000 (2005)
Left Field - 330 ft
Med Left-Center - 360 ft
True Left-Center - 375 ft
Center Field - 395 ft
True Right-Center - 375 ft
Med Right Field - 360 ft
Right Field - 330 ft
Backstop - 75 ft
Foul territory: Large

The park is still also sometimes referred to as Chavez Ravine (more formally as Chavez Ravine Stadium), after the name of the site where it was constructed, and the name used by the Angels organization during their tenancy.

Despite being technically in a ravine, it is also on a hillside that overlooks downtown Los Angeles, and is prominently visible, most dramatically during night games.


The stadium holds 56,000 fans and was designed to be capable of expansion to 85,000 seats. It has a unique terraced-earthworks parking lot behind the main stands, which allows ticketholders to park at roughly the level that their seats are, minimizing their climbing and descending of ramps once they get inside the stadium. The design is also alleged to be earthquake-resistant, certainly an important consideration in California.

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It was the only park of its era designed specifically for baseball, and with the construction of many new major league ballparks in recent years, is now one of the oldest still in use. Being privately owned, however, and maintained with a level of pride that is typically missing from public facilities, it has stood the test of time very well, and no plans are in the offing to replace it, although some renovations were made in 2004 that added luxury suites, a feature that had not been previously present.

Because of overall poor visibility for hitters, fairly large dimensions and a large amount of foul territory, Dodger Stadium has enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as a pitchers' park. Even the almost always pleasant California weather benefits pitchers. During evening games, as the sun sets, the surrounding air cools quickly due to the ocean climate, becoming more dense, and deep fly balls that might be home runs during the day instead "die" in the air for routine outs.

Dodger Stadium!
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Several power pitchers such as Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Fernando Valenzuela became superstars after arriving in Los Angeles. The park's significant advantage was eroded somewhat in 1969, in general because MLB rules were changed to lower the maximum height of the pitcher's mound, and more specifically because the Dodgers moved the diamond about 10 feet towards center field. This also gave the fielders more room to catch foul balls, so there was some tradeoff. Renovations in 2004 added some seats to the field level, reducing somewhat the amount of foul territory.

Ceremonial Pitch Anaheim Mayor Fred Krein
Attendance 31,660
Stolen Base Tommie Agee
Sacrifice Hit Marcelino Lopez
Sacrifice Fly Paul Schaal (04/21/1966)
Cycle Jim Fregosi (05/20/1968)
Win Tommy John
Loss Marcelino Lopez
Shutout Fred Newman, Bob Lee (05/05/1966)
Save Eddie Fisher
Hit by Pitch Marcelino Lopez hit Floyd Robinson
Wild Pitch Juan Pizarro (04/21/1966)
Balk Dennis Higgins (04/20/1966)
No-hitter Clyde Wright (07/03/1970)
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet

Dodger Stadium was the first Major League Baseball stadium since the initial construction of Yankee Stadium to be built using entirely private financing, and the last until Pacific Bell Park was built.

2005 is the Dodger franchise's 44th season at Dodger Stadium, only one season less than it spent at its storied ancestral home, Ebbets Field (1913-1957). Thanks to the 162-game season that coincidentally went into effect the year the stadium opened, as of 2005 the Dodgers have actually played more games at Dodger Stadium than they did at Ebbets Field. In the mid-1950s, team president Walter O'Malley had tried to convince the Borough of Brooklyn to construct a new stadium, complete with dome, to replace the woefully cramped Ebbets. O'Malley eventually got his stadium, except it was in Los Angeles and without a dome. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Dodger Stadium should outlive Ebbets Field by a good margin. In 2009, with the projected completion of the new Yankee Stadium, and if Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are still around, Dodger Stadium would become the third oldest Major League ball park still in use, albeit some five decades younger than those other two venerable facilities.

Construction controversy

The land for Dodger Stadium was expropriated from the local residents in the early 1950s by the city of Los Angeles under eminent domain. The residents were told that it was to be used for low-income housing and that the residents would have their choice of the new homes. The city, however, used the land to induce the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers to relocate the franchise in Los Angeles.

Famous LA author Mike Davis, in his seminal work on the city, City of Quartz, describes the process of gradually convincing Chavez Ravine homeowners to sell. With nearly all of the original, Spanish-speaking homeowners initially unwilling to sell, developers resorted to offering immediate cash payments, distributed through their Spanish-speaking agents. Once the first sales had been completed, remaining homeowners were offered increasingly lesser amounts of money, to create a community panic of not receiving fair compensation, or of being left as one of the only holdouts.

The top of a local hill was removed and the soil was used to fill in the actual Chavez Ravine, to provide a level surface for a parking lot and the stadium.

A few years after the stadium opened, a minor land dispute arose. A nearby landowner claimed that a corner of his property had been paved over as part of the parking lot. He announced he was going to build a small hamburger stand on that small slice of property, selling "O'Malleyburgers", the buns to carry an imprint of Dodgers' owner Walter O'Malley, so that disgruntled patrons could "bite off his ear". Apparently a settlement was reached, as nothing much came of this incident.

2005-2006 Offseason Improvements

At the conclusion of the 2005 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced plans for major renovations during the 2005-2006 offseason. The largest of these improvements will be the replacing of nearly all the seats in the stadium. The new seats will be in the original 1962 color sheme consisting of yellow, light orange, turquoise, and sky blue. The baseline seating sections will be converted into retro-style "box" seating, adding leg room and a table for fans. Other maintenance and repair will be made to the concrete structure of the stadium.

Related Books on Dodger Stadium:
Chavez Ravine, 1949: A Los Angeles Story by Don Normark.
The Dodgers Move West by Neil J. Sullivan.
Dodger Stadium (Images of Baseball) by Mark Langill. 

Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.

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