Los Angeles's Historic Ballparks (Images of America)
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Baseball's long and storied history in Los Angeles has been played at venues including the turn-of-the-century Chutes Park, which was part of an amusement park, as well as Gilmore Field, where the Hollywood Stars played, and Wrigley Field, where many movies and television shows were filmed. The 1923-vintage Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum became the Dodgers' first home in California in 1958, when they moved from Brooklyn. Greater Los Angeles also featured professional baseball at Olive Memorial Stadium in Burbank, Brookside Park in Pasadena, on Catalina Island, plus at numerous diamonds throughout Orange and Riverside Counties, where legends including Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, and Connie Mack appeared. Most fans know Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium, but many other historic ballparks existed in Southern California. Their images are collected together here for the first time.
originally owned by the Chicago Cubs, and it was designed to be like Cubs’ Park (which was renamed for owner William Wrigley Jr. the following year). L.A.’s Wrigley Field stood until 1969. Baseball great George Herman “Babe” Ruth is seen here in a still from the 1932 film Fancy Curves, which was shot in part at Wrigley Field. Wrigley would become a popular location site for future Hollywood baseball movies and television shows. In fact, Babe would return here to play himself in the classic Lou
special thanks to baseball writer Tom Hoffarth for this piece of research. In this postcard view of Wrigley Field, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis delivers the dedication address as the stadium’s renowned memorial tower is dedicated on January 15, 1926. In this 1930 view, it’s easy to see the letters spelling out W-R-I-G-L-E-Y F-I-E-L-D on the clock face of the stadium’s landmark tower, which was visible for miles round Los Angeles. A page from the 1956 Los Angeles Angels yearbook details
a West Coast barnstorming tour, which matched them against the Los Angeles Angels, the Hollywood Stars, Sacramento Solons, Oakland Oaks, and San Francisco Seals. This was the final year of Joe DiMaggio’s illustrious career and the first for a 19-year-old rookie named Mickey Mantle, so when the team pulled into Wrigley Field, it was a special event. The following rare images from the game, like this one of manager Casey Stengel at home plate, are treasures. They are the property of baseball
STARS AND THE HOLLYWOOD STARS Gilmore Field at 7700 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles was home to the Hollywood Stars of the PCL from 1939 until 1957, when they and the Los Angeles Angels were displaced by the transplanted Brooklyn Dodgers of the National League. The stadium had a seating capacity of 12,987 and was a haven for movie stars and other celebrities throughout the life of the park. This stunning aerial shot features Gilmore Stadium (left) and Gilmore Field (right). Gilmore Stadium was
the spring training location for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Gilmore Field is seen from deep center field. Baseball legends who played for the Hollywood Stars included longtime-PCL spitball ace Frank Shellenback, future Red Sox legend Bobby Doerr, Brooklyn-Dodger-great Babe Herman, MLB Hall-of-Famer Bill Mazeroski, and Joe DiMaggio’s older brother, Vince. The photograph captures Opening Day at Gilmore Field, May 2, 1939. Preserved here is an image from a Hollywood Stars and San Francisco Seals