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Dodger Stadium
Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium, also sometimes called Chavez Ravine, is a stadium in Los Angeles. Located adjacent to Downtown Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium has been the home ballpark of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers team since 1962. Dodger Stadium was constructed from 1959 to 1962 at a cost of $23 million, financed by private sources.

Dodger Stadium is currently the third oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball (behind Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago,) and is the largest ballpark by seating capacity.

The stadium hosted the 1980 MLB All-Star Game, as well as games of the 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, and 1988 World Series.

It also hosted the semifinals and finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic as well as exhibition baseball during the 1984 Summer Olympics. The 2012 season marks the fiftieth anniversary of the stadium.

 

History[edit] ConstructionIn the mid-1950s, Brooklyn Dodger team president Walter O'Malley had tried to build a domed stadium in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, but was unable to reach an agreement with city officials regarding land acquisition, and eventually reached a deal with the city of Los Angeles in California. The land for Dodger Stadium was purchased from local owners and inhabitants in the early 1950s by the city of Los Angeles using eminent domain with funds from the Federal Housing Act of 1949. The city had planned to develop the Elysian Park Heights public housing project, which included two dozen 13-story buildings and more than 160 two-story townhouses, in addition to newly rebuilt playgrounds and schools.

Before construction could begin on the housing project, the local political climate changed greatly when Norris Poulson was elected mayor of Los Angeles in 1953. Proposed public housing projects like Elysian Park Heights lost most of their support as they became associated with socialist ideals. Following protracted negotiations, the city purchased the Chavez Ravine property back from the Federal Housing Authority at a drastically reduced price, with the stipulation that the land be used for a public purpose. It was not until June 3, 1958, when Los Angeles voters approved a "Taxpayers Committee for Yes on Baseball" referendum, that the Dodgers were able to acquire 352 acres (1.42 km2) of Chavez Ravine from the city. While Dodger Stadium was under construction, the Dodgers played in the league's largest capacity venue from 1958 through 1961 at their temporary home, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which could seat in excess of 90,000 people.

Los Angeles-based 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 few holdouts. Many residents continued to hold out despite the pressure being placed upon them by developers, resulting in the Battle of Chavez Ravine, an unsuccessful ten-year struggle by residents of Chavez Ravine, to maintain control of their property. The controversy surrounding the construction of the Dodger Stadium provided the inspiration for singer Ry Cooder's 2005 concept album, Chávez Ravine.

Dodger Stadium was the first Major League Baseball stadium since the initial construction of the original Yankee Stadium to be built using 100% private financing, and the last until AT&T Park opened in 2000. Ground was broken for Dodger Stadium on September 17, 1959. 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 total of eight million cubic yards of earth were moved in the process of building the stadium. 21,000 precast concrete units, some weighing as much as thirty-two tons, were fabricated onsite and lowered into place with a specially-built crane to form the stadium's structural framework. The stadium was originally designed to be expandable to 85,000 seats, simply by expanding the upper decks over the outfield pavilions. However, the Dodgers have never pursued such a project.

Dodger Stadium was also the home of the Los Angeles Angels (now Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) from 1962 through 1965. To avoid constantly referring to their landlords, the Angels called the park Chavez Ravine Stadium (or just "Chavez Ravine"), after the former geographic feature in which the stadium had been constructed.

As of 2011, Dodger Stadium is one of twelve major league parks currently without a corporate-sponsored name; the others are Turner Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Busch Stadium, Wrigley Field, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Kauffman Stadium, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and Nationals Park. (Busch, Kauffman, Turner and Wrigley were named for individuals rather than their corporations. Angel and Rangers once had corporate sponsorships.)

 







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