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Wrigley Field - Los Angeles


no97

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So, I know the LA Angels played their first season at Wrigley Field LA (1961) before moving to Chavez Ravine (and eventually to the Big A). My question is, did the Dodgers ever play at Wrigley Field LA?

Here's why I ask. My father is reading the book, The Cubs on Catalina. On page 287 (see the side bar on the right side of the page):

wrigley_field183.jpg

It talks about the Dodgers playing at Wrigley-LA in 1958 - their first year moving west. Problem is, that every other source I've looked up (LA Dodgers History Page, Wrigley Field - LA (Wikipedia), and Ballparks of Baseball) makes mention only of the Angels, and not the Dodgers - just that the Dodgers played at the Coliseum once they moved west.

The easy answer is to assume that Jim Vitti (the author of The Cubs on Catalina) made a mistake, and ment to write Angels, and 1961... So, is that right?

Moose

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From several sources I've read, the Dodgers bought Wrigley Field in L.A. from the Cubs to secure territorial rights to the area. When Walter O'Malley decided to move the Dodgers, the original plan was to play weekdays at Wrigley Field and weekends at the Coliseum (much like the Indians had done with League Park and Municipal Stadium). But ultimately O'Malley decided to abandon Wrigley -- no one is exactly sure why, perhaps he thought it was too small, or something. Also, there were plans drawn up to expand Wrigley Field into a configuration much like Dodger Stadium is now, but for some reason O'Malley decided to build anew.

(By the way, the Wrigley Field in L.A. was named that a year before the park in Chicago acquired that name.)

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From several sources I've read, the Dodgers bought Wrigley Field in L.A. from the Cubs to secure territorial rights to the area. When Walter O'Malley decided to move the Dodgers, the original plan was to play weekdays at Wrigley Field and weekends at the Coliseum (much like the Indians had done with League Park and Municipal Stadium). But ultimately O'Malley decided to abandon Wrigley -- no one is exactly sure why, perhaps he thought it was too small, or something. Also, there were plans drawn up to expand Wrigley Field into a configuration much like Dodger Stadium is now, but for some reason O'Malley decided to build anew.

(By the way, the Wrigley Field in L.A. was named that a year before the park in Chicago acquired that name.)

I thought that was a possibility (the Cleveland scenerio), but, again, it wasn't being reported anywhere. When you consider 1921 capacity was listed (Wikipedia) at 22,000, and 1961 at just under that figure, and the Dodgers drew nearly 79,000 to their LA opener at the Coliseum, I don't think it would take a genius to figure out that they likely wouldn't need a smaller park for weekday games...

Moose

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From several sources I've read, the Dodgers bought Wrigley Field in L.A. from the Cubs to secure territorial rights to the area. When Walter O'Malley decided to move the Dodgers, the original plan was to play weekdays at Wrigley Field and weekends at the Coliseum (much like the Indians had done with League Park and Municipal Stadium). But ultimately O'Malley decided to abandon Wrigley -- no one is exactly sure why, perhaps he thought it was too small, or something. Also, there were plans drawn up to expand Wrigley Field into a configuration much like Dodger Stadium is now, but for some reason O'Malley decided to build anew.

(By the way, the Wrigley Field in L.A. was named that a year before the park in Chicago acquired that name.)

I thought that was a possibility (the Cleveland scenerio), but, again, it wasn't being reported anywhere. When you consider 1921 capacity was listed (Wikipedia) at 22,000, and 1961 at just under that figure, and the Dodgers drew nearly 79,000 to their LA opener at the Coliseum, I don't think it would take a genius to figure out that they likely wouldn't need a smaller park for weekday games...

Moose

What did the Dodgers usually draw in those early years? Did their crowds at all justify the Coliseum, or did they only draw huge for special events (Opening Day, etc.)?

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From several sources I've read, the Dodgers bought Wrigley Field in L.A. from the Cubs to secure territorial rights to the area. When Walter O'Malley decided to move the Dodgers, the original plan was to play weekdays at Wrigley Field and weekends at the Coliseum (much like the Indians had done with League Park and Municipal Stadium). But ultimately O'Malley decided to abandon Wrigley -- no one is exactly sure why, perhaps he thought it was too small, or something. Also, there were plans drawn up to expand Wrigley Field into a configuration much like Dodger Stadium is now, but for some reason O'Malley decided to build anew.

(By the way, the Wrigley Field in L.A. was named that a year before the park in Chicago acquired that name.)

I thought that was a possibility (the Cleveland scenerio), but, again, it wasn't being reported anywhere. When you consider 1921 capacity was listed (Wikipedia) at 22,000, and 1961 at just under that figure, and the Dodgers drew nearly 79,000 to their LA opener at the Coliseum, I don't think it would take a genius to figure out that they likely wouldn't need a smaller park for weekday games...

Moose

What did the Dodgers usually draw in those early years? Did their crowds at all justify the Coliseum, or did they only draw huge for special events (Opening Day, etc.)?

I just looked that up - they drew 1,845,556 (or 23,968 pre game - 77 game home season) in 1958. Attendance, actually rose over then next two seasons (2,071,045 in 1959; 2,253,887 in 1960) before dropping in 1961 (their final at the Coliseum - 1,804,250). The first year at Dodger Stadium saw attendance explode to 2,755,184.

As far as the Angels, their one season at Wrigley-LA (1961), they drew 603,510 (7837 per game), and then 1,144,063 at Chavez Ravine in 1962 before dropping back to 821,015 in 1963.

With a capacity listed at, again, just under 22,000, I suppose the Dodgers could have played weekdays at Wrigley-LA, but I'd have to look at individual box scores to see where the drop-off was for the honey-moon to end. Certainly, at some point, the huge initial crounds dried-up (no more 79,000 opening day crouds), and they had around 20,000 (or less) per game - especially for the weekday games. I could see a Cleveland League Park situation working, but maybe it developed such that the huge early crouds made the Dodgers scrap that idea fairly early in the season...

Moose

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Ironically, L.A.'s Wrigley Field and the Coliseum were just mere blocks from each other, with Wrigley being about at least 7-8 blocks to the east of the Coliseum. A recreational park currently occupies the former Wrigley Field spot.

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The Dodgers drew a record 92,206 during the 1959 World Series.

As ill-suited as the Coliseum was for baseball, can you imagine going to three consecutive baseball games with crowds exceeding 92,000? Good god, the atmosphere must have been amazing. The other three games in tiny 50,000 seat Comiskey must have seemed a let down in comparison. [even after compensating for the alleged difference in intensity between Chicago and Los Angeles baseball fans]

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Okay, so I took the time to delve into the 1958 box scores, and the trend I noticed was that, by the second weekday of the season, (example, Thursday, April 24, 1958) the Dodgers could have entertained the thought of playing at Wrigley-LA. The trend of the season seems to be larger weekend crouds (as one would expect - note 59,565 on Sat. June 7), and sometimes really small crouds even days before (8,440 two days before the near 60,000 on Thu. June 5) There seems to as well be a trend of larger crouds after the team returned from road-trips (even for week-day games - example 29,770 for a Mon. game, when the Dodgers last game was @ San Fran two days before, and last home game was the previous Wednesday.

All this seems to support the theory that, after a couple weeks, the Dodgers could have played at Wrigley-LA for week-day games (average attendance seems to be around 8,500-17,000), but they made the decision to play at the Coliseum because of the potential for the larger crouds.

Moose

PS, I love Baseball-Reference.com

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Who doesn't?

Today my grandfather told me a story about the '55 Dodgers and how he remembered watching it live in Brooklyn after just getting out of Korea, rooting against the Yankees not for the Dodgers, kind of like how I am today :D He doesn't have the internet, so he didn't believe me when I told him you could get basically any stat ever in Baseball on that site. I showed him today and he was so happy to go back to the 50's. He being almost 80, and not really in good health it was great to see him so happy about a baseball game.

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