After 42 years, the Summer Classic returns to Southern California
Every Dodger home game starts with five words Vin Scully has made memorable for every Dodger fan: “It’s time for Dodger baseball!” This year, it just might be, “It’s time for the 92nd annual MLB All-Star Game!”
Every baseball fan looks forward to watching the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby, which is always the day before. This year’s game will be at Dodger Stadium, the first time in four decades that the game has been in Los Angeles. (The game is actually a reschedule of 2020’s All-Star Game, which never took place due to the pandemic.)
Here are some facts about Dodger Stadium to get you ready to enjoy this year’s battle between the best players from the National and American Leagues, in one of the most picturesque settings in all of baseball.
This is the third All-Star Game in Los Angeles, the second at Dodger Stadium.
The first All-Star Game in Los Angeles took place in 1959 at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the Dodgers’ second season in L.A. The date was August 3rd and the NL lost 5-3. The two rosters featured 19 future Hall of Famers! The starting AL lineup included Yogi Berra, Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Ted Williams. The NL team included Ken Boyer, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, Del Crandall and Don Drysdale. It was the first of two All-Star Games that year, and it was the first All-Star Game ever played west of the Mississippi.
As it turns out, the 1959 Dodgers would go on to defeat the Chicago White Sox in the World Series, L.A.’s first championship title.
Twenty-one years later, in 1980, the first All-Star Game in Dodger Stadium took place, 18 years after it opened. This time, the National League won 4-2.
Dodger Stadium is the third oldest park in the Majors!
It looks great for its age, so it’s hard to believe that Dodger Stadium is older than every stadium except for Fenway Park in Boston (built in 1912) and Wrigley Field in Chicago (1914). Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, 50 years after Fenway opened. (The fourth oldest stadium? It’s a tie. Angel Stadium and Oakland Coliseum both opened in 1966.) This season, Dodger Stadium is celebrating its 60th season. The stadium also has the largest capacity in the Majors currently, at 56,000. That has remained a consistent number more or less from the beginning.
When owner Walter O’Malley moved the team to Los Angeles from Brooklyn in 1958, they played their first four full seasons (1958–61) in the cavernous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which was home to the Los Angeles Rams, as well as the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins college football teams. The Dodgers drew a crowd of over 92,000 three times during the 1959 World Series, the all-time record for attendance.
At Dodger Stadium, the team often leads the Majors in attendance, and that’s the case so far in 2022. They’re averaging 49,255 fans per game so far; the Cardinals are the runner-up with 38,604.
The stadium sits just miles from Downtown Los Angeles.
Groundbreaking took place in September of 1959. The stadium was built into the hillside for support; as a result, there are no girders to block a fan’s view. The massive parking lots surrounding the stadium are on different levels, to match the corresponding seating levels. The stadium truly is a symbol of mid-century modern architecture, conceived with the vision of O’Malley himself. The address of the stadium is 1000 Vin Scully Way, and it has its own ZIP code―90090―with an official designation of “Dodgertown.” Fans in the stands can see the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains in the background. From the top deck, fans can see Downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory, just miles away.
In case you’re wondering, Dodger Stadium is...
- 4 miles from Crypto.com Arena (Staples Center), home to the Lakers and Clippers
- 5.5 miles from the USC campus and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
- 7 miles from Hollywood
- 17 miles from the Santa Monica Pier and the Pacific Ocean
- 17 miles from UCLA
- 29 miles from Disneyland (and 31 miles from Angel Stadium in Anaheim)
It’s the only symmetrical ballpark in the Majors.
Not only are the dimensions the same between the lines and center field, but Dodger Stadium itself, from the stands to the bleachers, is symmetrical. Even when the fences were brought in and seats were added along the lines, throughout renovations and embellishments over the years, the Stadium has remained symmetrical and looks remarkably the same—just fresher, more alive and even more inviting.
Will we see a home run fly out of Dodger Stadium?
It’s rare to see a home run clear the pavilion (bleachers) roof and reach the parking lot. Only five players have done it, the last being the Padres’ Fernando Tatís Jr., who did it toward the end of the 2021 season. The others to hit one out of Dodger Stadium are Giancarlo Stanton (2015); Mark McGwire (1999); Mike Piazza (1997, the only Dodger to do it); and Willie Stargell of the Pirates, who did it in 1965 and 1973. Stargell’s blast in 1965 traveled an estimated 506 feet, the longest of all six.
Don’t worry about a rainout. It just about never rains on Dodger Stadium.
There have been only 17 rainouts in the history of Dodger Stadium, and the Dodgers set the record (for a non-covered stadium) for consecutive games without one in 2018. The last rainout at Dodger Stadium had been on April 17, 2000. From that date to 2018, the Dodgers played 1,471 consecutive home games without a rainout, which is the longest streak in MLB history.
Real Angels in the outfield (at least temporarily).
Here’s a little-known fact: In 1962, the new, one-year-old Los Angeles Angels franchise also played in brand-new Dodger Stadium. In fact, Dodger Stadium was their home from 1962 to 1965. Finally, in 1966, they moved to their own brand-new stadium in Anaheim, California. During their time in Dodger Stadium, the Angels called their home “Chávez Ravine Stadium.” Dodger Stadium is built in a ravine named after an L.A. councilman from the 1800s. To this day, local sportscasters refer to Dodger games taking place “at the Ravine” or at Chávez Ravine.
The Dodgers have clinched only one World Series at Dodger Stadium, in 1963.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have won six World Series titles, but only once did they win the deciding game at Dodger Stadium. That was in 1963, when the Koufax/Drysdale-led team swept the Yankees, taking Game 4 at home, with Koufax on the mound.
In 1988, Kirk Gibson hit one of the most famous home runs in World Series history off Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland A’s. It was a walk-off home run in Game One. The team would win Game 5 and the Series in Oakland.
So, don’t forget to tune in when the National League takes on the American League again on Tuesday, July 19th, at Dodger Stadium. If we’re lucky, we might see another home run clear the pavilion.
RESOURCES: ballparksofbaseball.com/dodger-stadium; dodgersnation.com/dodger-stadium-facts; mlb.com/dodgers; en.wikipedia.org/dodgerstadium; discoverlosangeles.com/greatest-moments-in-dodger-stadium