Dodgertown Memories

Rick Monday


The famous marble marker built by Domar Corp. in Vero Beach, Florida for Dodgertown, circa 1960s with the Dodger logo and the words, “Winter Home of Los Angeles Dodgers”.

Outfielder Rick Monday played in three World Series for the Dodgers. His electrifying home run in Game 5 of the 1981 National League Championship Series at Montreal propelled the Dodgers into the 1981 World Series, where they beat the New York Yankees in six games. He played eight seasons for the Dodgers.

The American flag. Add Rick Monday’s name to the American flag and it immediately conjures up one of Dodger Stadium’s most memorable moments. The date was April 25, 1976 and Monday was playing center field for the visiting Chicago Cubs. As two protestors tried to burn an American flag in left-center, Monday dashed across the outfield and snatched the flag, drenched with lighter fluid, from them, saving it from destruction and carrying it to the safety of the Dodger dugout. Spontaneously, the crowd started singing “God Bless America” and one by one stood and cheered Monday’s heroics until he received a standing ovation from Dodger fans for several minutes. The Dodger Stadium Left Field Message Board read, “Rick Monday You Made A Great Play!” His quick-thinking act of valor earned him a special place in the hearts of Americans to this day. “What they were doing was wrong then and, in my mind, it is wrong today,” said Monday. In 2006, the 109th Congress passed a Senate resolution honoring Monday “for his courage and patriotism.” That same year, the Baseball Hall of Fame named the iconic patriot act as one of the “100 Classic Moments in the history of the game.” The Dodgers acquired Monday in a trade from the Cubs in 1977 and he played for the Dodgers through the 1984 season, helping them to National League Pennants in 1977, 1978 and 1981 and a World Championship in 1981. His dramatic home run off Montreal’s Steve Rogers that propelled the Dodgers to the N.L. Pennant and the 1981 World Series will always be remembered as one of the Dodgers’ most important feats. The Santa Monica, California native and former Arizona State University All-America has the distinction of being the first player ever selected (by the Kansas City Athletics) in the major league first-year player draft in 1965. Monday has been a member of the Dodger broadcast team since 1993.

I had heard for years and years and years about Dodgertown, about the streets named after players and about all the different history that had taken place there – about the fact that everything that you wanted was there, about the living quarters, how accessible it was, Holman Stadium, how it got there, the tradition. I never saw it until I was traded to the Dodgers because we did not play there previously with the A’s and with the Cubs – we trained in Arizona – so we did not see Dodgertown. So, then I get traded and I go there and I remember going in the first day and you see the sign – “Dodgertown” and then you see the banner that said welcome back to Dodgertown, it said, “Welcome Home” and you understand what Dodger tradition was by going to Spring Training, because it was home.

“There were living quarters there and there was the dining room that was there and there were the baseball fields, so it was a self-served area. Being from Southern California, when you make the connotation as I did, it was the Disneyland of baseball. If you are from the East Coast, you’d say it was the Disney World. Here’s why: every attraction that you want whether it be in baseball terms – a batting cage, a sliding pit, concrete wall to throw against, the batting cages or whatever, the fields, they were there. What Dodgertown allowed players to do was to get up in the morning and have breakfast and talk baseball; and then get the uniforms on in the locker room and talk baseball; and then you go out and play the game for a number of hours and then, after you leave and you back to your room, you wind up going to the dining room and it’s still the same thing. You talked about baseball and sat around, you told stories. It really was the Disneyland of baseball. You understand how important it is when you are a member of the Dodgers when you go back and you see that sign and it says “Welcome Home.”

Rick Monday