Despite New York City and Philadelphia associated with the origins of modern baseball, Los Angeles has played host to a number of major baseball tournaments over the years. The US state is also home to the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as the Los Angeles Angels. As one of the first baseball teams to relocate from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in the late 1950s, the rise of the Los Angeles Dodgers spawned a resurgence of the sport in California’s largest city. Continue reading to familiarise yourself with a brief history of baseball in Los Angeles.
The early years
In 1903, the Los Angeles Angels were born. As the first professional baseball team in California to play under the Pacific Coast League until 1958, they were purchased by William K. Wrigley Jr in 1921. For the next four years, the renowned chewing gum mogul got to work commissioning the construction of a multi-million-dollar stadium in Los Angeles to house his team. Aptly named Wrigley Field, its final location was to be the corner of 42nd Place and Avalon Boulevard. The Los Angeles Angels called Wrigley Field home from 1921 until 1961. With a similar design to Wrigley Field’s sister stadium in Chicago, it housed 21,500 Los Angeles Angels fans over the course of its forty-year lifespan. It was finally demolished, much to the dismay of Los Angeles Angels fans all over the world, in 1966.
The Los Angeles Dodgers
Up until 1958, Major League Baseball ceased to exist west of St. Louis, Missouri and south of Washington D.C. This all changed, however, in 1958 when the Brooklyn Dodgers relocated from New York City to Los Angeles. The team dominated the National League during the 1950s with two World Series titles, including one in Los Angeles, and five National League pennants. Their national move was spurred on by a failure to find a suitable stadium in New York City. With six different locations between 1884 and 1957, they have called Dodgers Stadium home since 1962. The relocation also signaled a wider movement in American baseball with more teams following suit and shifting their base to the west coast of the country in the 1950s and 1960s. In the space of a decade, an estimated ten baseball teams made the move. With the Los Angeles Dodgers continuing to call Los Angeles home today, baseball fans all over the world can keep up to date with the latest updates and wager on their favorite Major League Baseball team both in person as well as from the comfort of their own homes through licensed and regulated online sports books.
A clash of two coasts
In the 1980s, the Los Angeles Dodgers were scheduled to play against the New York Yankees a number of times. During the 1981 World Series, for example, they claimed their first victory after six games to achieve their first title since 1965. This became their first victory over the New York Yankees since 1963 and their third win over the New York-based team overall. During the 1988 World Series, they rose to victory again over the Oakland Athletics with a five-game win. As one of the most memorable matches in the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Most Valuable Player Kirk Gibson managed to hit a pinch-hit, walk-off home run against Oakland Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley during the first game despite barely being able to walk as a result of a string of injuries sustained during the National League Championship Series. Over the years, both teams have continued to forge one of the most well-known rivalries in Major League Baseball. With both teams originating from New York City, the conflict only grew stronger after the Dodgers relocation to Los Angeles with both teams now battling it out to represent not only the east and west coast of the country but the two largest cities in the United States as of the 1980s.
The Dodgers vs the Angels
With the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels the two most prominent Los Angeles-based baseball teams, a long-standing rivalry also exists between the two native teams. In 2005, the Los Angeles Angels changed their name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This move attracted controversy from fans of both teams with the city of Anaheim located around 30 miles from the city of Los Angeles. The owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Frank McCourt, even filed a formal complaint which was ultimately denied. He then launched a t-shirt with the words ‘The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles’ scrawled across the front. To this day, the phrase is repeated by Dodgers fans at major matches between the two teams.
The future of baseball in Los Angeles
With Major League Baseball more popular than ever before, the future of baseball in Los Angeles is bright. The Dodger stadium, in particular, is already adapting to a digital future by incorporating a number of contactless technology trends. As well as becoming one of the first cashless stadiums in the history of the sport, it is focusing on real-time digital visualization. Fans can also now benefit from enhanced data capacity within the stadium to provide the best fan experience the industry has to offer. The iconic venue is also expected to offer 5G connectivity and facial recognition to allow fans to engage with fellow baseball fans and players in more ways than ever before. With so many changes in such little time, the Los Angeles Dodgers have proven that they are not only the face of baseball in Los Angeles but a team that baseball fans all over the world can rely on and cheer on whenever or wherever they may be.
Baseball has dominated the sports scene in Los Angeles for decades. Since the relocation of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the late 1950s, the city has become something of a global powerhouse when it comes to the history of the sport. By familiarizing yourself with a brief history of baseball in Los Angeles, it is not difficult to see why.