In preparation for our our documentary “Dodgers Stories: 6 Decades in L.A.” we asked our audience to send us their favorite stories and photos about the Dodgers and how meaningful they have been to their families. Here are some of our favorite stories submitted. Tune in and stream it online to check if these stories made it to the documentary!
Dorothy Yumi Garcia
I’m a lifelong Dodger fan and have managed to follow the Boys in Blue despite the geographical challenge of living some of my life outside California (not easy in the days before the internet!). In 1987 I took advantage of my (then) Florida residency to travel to Vero Beach for a visit to Dodgertown during spring training. This was going to be the experience of a lifetime! I arrived fully prepared with all of my Dodger baseball cards carefully placed in order. As I approached the field, I turned to see my hero Sandy Koufax walking towards me. It was Dodger nirvana! Overcome with excitement, the entire batch of cards slipped through my trembling fingers and scattered like autumn leaves onto the ground. My hero was generous enough to take pity and help this flustered fan pick up her prized Dodger collectibles… so that I could take a photo with him. I will forever remember this moment and his kindness. True Blue!
I started following the Dodgers when I was a teenager in the ‘70s and have been a fan ever since. I went with my family to greet them at LAX (in ’77, I believe) to show support after they lost the World Series to the Yankees. I used to watch the games on TV with one of my best friends. We’re still friends and we still watch games together, only now we go in person instead of watching on tv.
My kids grew up Dodger fans, as well. I saved my son’s baby Dodger outfit from 1983 (Fernando Valenzuela #34) and am passing it on to his son, my first grandchild, who is due July 27th this year.
Laura Berthold Monteros
It was summer, 1961. I was 13 years old. My folks had stopped at the Union station on the corner of Oxnard and Vineland to get a fill-up, and I reminded the attendant that I wanted one of those souvenir booklets they were handing out. This was an important one, and I wanted to get it on the first day it came out. It featured Don Drysdale, my favorite player of all time.
I eagerly turned the pages. A few turns in, my gaze was arrested by a photo of Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, pitching arms straight out, each clutching a ball.
Something was wrong.
I stared at the photo. It was meant to show off the Dodgers’ top pitchers, the sidearm righty and the southpaw. Oh, gee! The photo was flopped! Big D looked like a left-hander, and Koufax looked like a right-hander. Boy, was I so smart!
I wasn’t the only one who noticed. That evening on the radio, Vin Scully announced that there was an error in the booklet, but he wasn’t spilling the beans. There would be a fan contest to find the error, and those who won would get tickets to the game. I immediately wrote a letter and mailed it. In a few days, maybe a week, I got a reply. In the envelope were two tickets in field boxes on third-base side. They were for August 9! The day after my birthday! Oh, wow!
But the excitement was just beginning. Don Drysdale was in the rotation that night! It was all magical: the oval field of the Coliseum, the red dirt and green grass, long hits to left field wall with the thill of seeing the aptly-named Wally Moon scale the tall monstrosity installed to make up for the short field. Drysdale was on the mound, Johnny Roseboro behind the plate, and the greats around the bases—Norm Larker, Charlie Neal, Maury Wills (he surely stole a few bases that night) Jim Gilliam, and Duke Snider and Don Demeter in the outfield with Moon.
Those were the days before the specialist relievers, when pitchers were expected to go all nine innings, and Big D did. The Milwaukee Braves did not do so well. They went through three pitchers, and Drysdale went home with a 8-3 win. Even if the other eight players had not batted in a run, Drysdale would have won. That was the night he hit an inside-the-park home run, clearing the bases and racking up four RBIs.
After the game, Drysdale came into the stands for a bit. My mom and I were almost the last people in the stadium. Clutching a baseball that had been given to me by an old lady who had caught it at a previous game, shaking, knees like rubber, I approached the 6-foot-6 giant. I was a foot-and-a-half shorter. My voice trembled as I asked him to sign the ball, and he did. He really did!
It wasn’t over yet. Mom and I headed out, and as we reached the concourse, who should walk out of the tunnel but Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett! So I asked them to sign, too. And they did! I still have that baseball, though the signatures are fading.
That was probably the most exciting series of events in my life, the most intoxicating night. The only event that comes close is the time a friend of mine gave me a second-row box at the Hollywood Bowl for a Beethoven double-header: Choral Fantasy and the Ninth Symphony. Beethoven and Don Drysdale — what could be better than having those happy places tucked away in my memory, to revisit as I round the bases of my life.