When you think of Dodger Stadium, also known as Chavez Ravine, the thought of great players of the past come to mind. After all, the immortal Sandy Koufax pitched here, rugged and reliable Don Drysdale brushed back hitters from this ballpark’s mound.
Graphic via wikimedia
Maury Wills built his reputation here, too, stealing bases (loads of them) with astonishing ease. There were many other great players that passed through Dodger Stadium, as well. It seems that, since 1962 when the first game was played, greatness has been a recurring theme.
It may be because this Los Angeles club once toiled in Brooklyn with the “Boys of Summer” filling the roster. Their legacy, the Brooklyn Dodgers legacy, moved west in 1958, four years before the new ballpark, Dodger Stadium opened.
Walter O’Malley, the team’s owner when the move took place, bought land in Chavez Ravine from local farmers and then self-financed the construction of the new ballpark. It was a beautiful building, a place that offered a backdrop of scenic mountains. And it was clean, absolutely immaculate.
That cleanliness still exists. And Dodger Stadium, now fifty-three years old, looks as new as the day it opened.
The well-manicured playing field is symmetrical. Distances are the same in left and right field, in left-center field and right-center field, too. And the distance to the center-field fence is only 400 feet from home plate.
Dodger stadium seats fifty-six thousand fans comfortably and every seat has great sight lines. In this stadium, every fan gets to see all of the action with an unobstructed view.
There have been many great baseball games played in this outstanding ballpark. Sandy Koufax threw three of his four no-hitters in Chavez Ravine, delighting his countless fans. And when he didn’t hold the other team without a hit, less well-known Dodger pitchers were able to follow his lead. In fact, the ballpark has been home to an impressive eleven no-hitters over the years.
It was also the site of the clinching game in the 1963 World Series. The Dodgers swept the Yankees that year and won the final game at home, the only time that has happened.
Then, in 1988 Los Angeles won its only 7th and deciding playoff game at home against the New York Mets, the team that replaced the Brooklyn Dodgers.
There have been many non-baseball events in Chavez Ravine. In 1987, Pope John Paul II held mass in the big ballpark while in a three day period that began April 30, 1992 and ended May 3, 1992 all baseball games were cancelled. That was the time of the Los Angeles riots.
Of course, there have been countless concerts at Chavez Ravine. Big name stars and groups like Elton John, KISS, Madonna, the Bee Gees and more have all performed for large and enthusiastic crowds,
It seems obvious that, at age 53 and counting, this still young stadium has many good years ahead of it.
Graphic via losangeles