LOS ANGELES — Dodger Stadium. Or Cooperstown West?
It’s a fair question should you find yourself visiting the breathtaking ballpark at 1000 Vin Scully Avenue in Chavez Ravine. The place is crawling with history — in the halls winding around the home and visitor locker rooms, on the concourse outside the press box, lining the walls of the press box itself, on the retired number plaza with the astounding view . . . it goes on and on.
“You come here and you walk around and there’s 55,000 people and that uniform is unique,” said Red Sox manager and former Dodger Alex Cora. “It’s beautiful, actually. And then you put it on and you feel it.”
For history buffs, this is a haven.
A spectacular array of memorabilia consumes the area on the fifth floor right outside the press box.
There is Frank Sinatra’s official Dodger Stadium seat, a ravishing yellow amid a sea of blue. Scully’s headset from his final broadcast on Oct. 2, 2016, sits safely inside glass. There’s a framed picture of a dapper Henry Fonda at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Dodgers played briefly from 1958-61 after moving from Brooklyn.
Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field isn’t forgotten, the weathered home plate from the storied ballpark’s final game on Sept. 24, 1957, prominently displayed. Nearby are a stack of Dodger travel trunks, the paint chipping on what was once used to carry equipment from Ebbets Field to spring training in Vero Beach, Fla. Legendary manager Walter Alston once used one of the trunks as a desk to sign a box of baseballs.
It gets even better once you venture downstairs to the tunnels just below field level.
Walls are lined with photos of iconic moments in Dodgers history, each colored in a bluish hue. The pictures date to 1890 with a team photo of the Brooklyn Baseball Club, nicknamed the “Bridegrooms.” Kirk Gibson’s home run in the 1988 World Series off Dennis Eckersley is included, of course. So, too, are moments from Steve Garvey, Bill Russell, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, and many others.
“You’ve got Garvey and [Ron] Cey and Russell and Jaime [Jarrin] and Mr. Scully, just walking around,” said Cora. “And you’re like, wow, this is great. They do an outstanding job as an organization keeping those guys involved, which is great.”
One receives an education in these halls.
Did you know that the World Series trophy ceremony didn’t exist until 1967? The Dodgers display their titles from 1955, 1959, 1963, and 1965 in the form of commemorative bats. Or how about that Sandy Koufax’s real name is Sanford, and that Koufax made just $15,000 for the 1959 season? For proof, just peek at his contract, displayed next to a matted jersey of No. 32.
Most impressive are the trophies. Gold Gloves, Sliver Sluggers, Cy Youngs, Jackie Robinson awards, Manager of the Year awards, and Most Valuable Player plaques are secured behind glass. You name it and Dodger Stadium has it.
Why doesn’t the Baseball Hall of Fame house Koufax’s 1963 National League MVP award, when the southpaw went 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA?
Because it’s right here at Dodger Stadium.
Owen Pence can be reached at email@example.com.