One for the Book
The Dodgers were recognized for their family-friendly ticket pricing during the O’Malley ownership era from 1950-98. In fact, ticket prices remained the same under Walter O’Malley’s leadership for 18 seasons (1958-75), bringing with it unprecedented attendance.
In April 2005, the Dodgers were acknowledged by Guinness World Records Book as having the “Highest Cumulative Attendance for a Baseball Franchise.” The Dodgers have played before more fans than any other franchise in baseball history with a cumulative attendance of 165,770,718 to begin 2005. Major League Baseball began tracking attendance figures in 1901. The O’Malley family years account for 68 percent of the record Dodger cumulative attendance (112,451,911).
In 1962, their first year of playing at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers established a major league home attendance record of 2,755,184. In 1978, the Dodgers were also the first team to reach the three million mark in home attendance with 3,347,845. From 1958-1979, the Dodgers hit the two million-plus mark in home attendance 15 times.
During the O’Malley family ownership, the Dodgers surpassed the three million mark in home attendance 13 times (12 times under Peter O’Malley). In 1982, the Dodgers set the then all-time home attendance record at 3,608,881 with 42 sellout crowds, the most in their history. At the time, National League attendance was based on fans actually coming through the turnstiles, while the American League counted total tickets sold. In 1993, the N.L. implemented the system of total tickets sold, regardless of actual in-house attendance.
In the years of Walter O’Malley’s presidency in Los Angeles, the Dodgers drew 25,697,863 fans to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (the team’s temporary home from 1958-61) and Dodger Stadium (56,000 capacity). During O’Malley’s years (1951-57) at 32,000-seat Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, the Dodgers drew a total attendance of 7,830,741. In Peter O’Malley’s presidency, the Dodgers drew 78,923,307 fans.
On May 7, 1959, the Dodgers and New York Yankees set the Major League record for single game attendance on “Roy Campanella Night” as 93,103 fans watched an exhibition game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The special tribute to Dodger three-time MVP catcher Campanella, who had never played in Los Angeles, was organized by Walter O’Malley.
Though World Series crowds are not included in season attendance figures, in 1959 the Dodgers had some whoppers, including three straight games of major league record crowds of better than 92,000 at the Coliseum (record 92,706 on October 6). Sellout crowds for the 20 World Series home games played at Dodger Stadium in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1988 topped 55,000-plus.