Walter O'Malley : Dodger Stadium : Other events at Dodger Stadium : Overview

Other events at Dodger Stadium

Overview

Dodger Stadium has played host to a variety of events since it opened on April 10, 1962, ranging from a theater atmosphere for musical concerts to a picturesque backdrop for television shows and commercials.

The versatility of the structure can be traced to Walter O’Malley’s original concept for a multi-use facility when he became President of the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 26, 1950. Along with architect Capt. Emil Praeger, who designed many landmark buildings, including the Los Angeles Public Library, O’Malley wanted his new ballpark to be functional on a year-round basis. One design included the use of a translucent dome, with its own underground parking garage, a concept in part because of New York’s harsh temperatures during the winter.

When the Dodgers arrived in Los Angeles for the 1958 season, the Southern California climate assured O’Malley of minimal rainouts. Beginning in 1962, spacious 56,000-seat Dodger Stadium and its surrounding parking lots, which accommodated 16,000 automobiles, provided the opportunity to explore other possibilities in addition to major league baseball games.

In the ballpark’s early years, Dodger Stadium was the site of Sports Car road races on March 2-3, 1963; a ski jumping exhibition; a night of championship boxing matches with 26,142 in attendance on March 21, 1963; and a basketball game on February 2, 1964 featuring the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters (preceded by a basketball exhibition game between the Chicago Bears and the Dodger All-Stars) which drew 12,405 amused fans. In July 1963, an episode of “Mr. Ed” starring Alan Young and featuring Dodger coach Leo Durocher was filmed at Dodger Stadium. A crowd of 42,317 attended a public rally for Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater on September 16, 1963. On August 28, 1966, The Beatles performed their second-to-last public appearance in a jammed-packed concert at Dodger Stadium. On March 28, 1970, a benefit East-West Major League Baseball Classic game in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was held at Dodger Stadium. Popular Dodger broadcasters Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett filmed commercials at the Union 76 station located on site.

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By Brent Shyer
  • Walter O’Malley and Capt. Emil Praeger had elaborate plans for a multipurpose domed stadium in Brooklyn, featuring year-round events.Walter O’Malley and Capt. Emil Praeger had elaborate plans for a multipurpose domed stadium in Brooklyn, featuring year-round events.
  • The vast parking areas at Dodger Stadium provide opportunities for events such as the first non-baseball event, the 1963 Sports Car Road Races to be held.The vast parking areas at Dodger Stadium provide opportunities for events such as the first non-baseball event, the 1963 Sports Car Road Races to be held.AP Photo
  • Robert E. Egan, Senior Investigator for the City’s Department of Building and Safety checks noise levels of the sports cars in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers received permission to hold the March 2-3, 1963 Sports Car Road Races at Dodger Stadium.Robert E. Egan, Senior Investigator for the City’s Department of Building and Safety checks noise levels of the sports cars in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers received permission to hold the March 2-3, 1963 Sports Car Road Races at Dodger Stadium.Los Angeles Times Collection, UCLA Library Special Collections
  • To honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an East-West Major League Baseball Classic benefit game was played on March 28, 1970 at Dodger Stadium.To honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an East-West Major League Baseball Classic benefit game was played on March 28, 1970 at Dodger Stadium.