Dodgertown Historic Timeline
The University of South Florida Bulls, an NCAA Division I team, hold their first football training camp at Vero Beach Sports Village, under new coach Skip Holtz, the son of legendary former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz.
Peter O’Malley, concerned about the future of Vero Beach Sports Village and preserving the history of former Dodgertown, holds discussions with Pat O’Conner, MiLB President and Craig Callan, Vice President, VBSV. After two years of incurring significant losses, MiLB was prepared to cease operations and its lease with Indian River County.
In November, the SK Wyverns, professional baseball team from South Korea, trains for the first time at Vero Beach Sports Village.
On January 1, Dodgertown was again preparing to be shuttered when former Dodger President Peter O’Malley steps forward to save the property and become responsible for the property. He formed a partnership with his sister Terry O’Malley Seidler, former Dodger owner, Dodger star pitchers Hideo Nomo and Chan Ho Park and MiLB to manage Vero Beach Sports Village on a lease basis with Indian River County.
In January and again in November, the SK Wyverns baseball team from South Korea train at Vero Beach Sports Village.
New facilities are opened at Vero Beach Sports Village, including on June 14, a cloverleaf of multi-purpose fields for girls’ softball fields and youth baseball, plus a new concessions area. In July, a new multi-purpose field #4 (110 by 150 yards) is completed, near where the historic U.S. Naval Air Station barracks used to stand.
In January, the SK Wyverns, professional baseball team from South Korea, train at Dodgertown.
On June 4, a long-term renewal of the facility lease agreement is signed between Peter O’Malley’s partnership and Indian River County. The agreement extends to April 2019.
The University of South Florida Bulls, an NCAA Division I team, under the leadership of new head coach Willie Taggart, hold football training camp at Vero Beach Sports Village for the fourth consecutive year.
In August, Peter O’Malley signs a 2013 licensing agreement in cooperation with the Dodgers and Major League Baseball, whereby he announced that Vero Beach Sports Village, longtime site of the world-famous Spring Training home of the Dodgers, will now be known as “Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida.” The new name recognizes the significance and longstanding tradition of the iconic site.
In January, the SK Wyverns, professional baseball team from South Korea return to train at Historic Dodgertown
April 15th sees Holman Stadium host the inaugural Jackie Robinson Celebration Game to benefit the United Way of Indian River County. This regular season Florida State League game featured the Brevard County Manatees host the Lakeland Flying Tigers in front of a crowd of over 4,000 fans.
Also occuring on April 15th, the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League host their three-day mini-camp on the multi-purpose field.
In November, the 53rd Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp takes place which includes the return of such former players as Maury Wills, Tommy Davis, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Mickey Hatcher, Jerry Reuss, Steve Yeager, Rick Monday and Ken Landreaux. Tommy Lasorda and Umpire Bruce Froemming appear as special guests.
Historic Dodgertown is recognized by the state of Florida as a Florida Heritage Landmark. The efforts for this recognition are led by the Indian River Historic Society and a signage monument is installed at the walkway to the campus Conference Center.
Historic Dodgertown is featured in the book “101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out” by author Josh Pahigian, alongside such iconic places as the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Little League World Series complex and Boston’s Fenway Park.
“Haven of Tolerance”, an essay written by scholar, historian and author Jerald Podair (Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis.), is introduced on the HistoricDodgertown.com website. In the article, Podair writes, “Dodgertown was more than just an incubator of talent. Its significance extends beyond the playing field and into the social and racial history of Florida, the South, and America as a whole.” In 1948, when the Dodgers held their first Spring Training camp at Historic Dodgertown, it began a groundbreaking transformation in the landscape of integration in the South. Historic Dodgertown was the first Spring Training camp in Major League Baseball in the South to integrate its players, who stayed in the same living quarters, shared recreational facilities and dined in a common hall.
Historic Dodgertown is named “Large Company of the Year” by the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce.
Peter O’Malley, Chairman of Historic Dodgertown and president of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1970-1998, received the high honor of “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon” from the Government of Japan, conferred by Emperor Akihito.
The New York Times features an in-depth article about Historic Dodgertown, titled, “A New Spring for Old Dodgertown,” written by David Waldstein.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob D. Manfred, Jr. becomes the ninth Commissioner to visit Historic Dodgertown, as MLB launches the annual Elite Development Invitational youth camp.
Jan. 1, 2017 marks the fifth anniversary of Historic Dodgertown under the leadership of Chairman Peter O’Malley, the former president of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1970-1998. The O’Malley family has been active in developing, expanding, maintaining and modernizing the now 80-acre property since it first opened in 1948.
International teams and guests visit Historic Dodgertown for training and camps, including the SK Wyverns for their fifth Spring Training; the Edmonton Eskimos, Canadian Football League (CFL) 2015 Grey Cup winner, for their second consecutive mini-camp; the CFL Sasketchwan Roughriders for a mini-camp; Meiji University of Japan for baseball Spring Training; Chunichi Dragons pitching Masahiro Yamamoto films a program for Nippon TV Network.
The Umpire Room is dedicated to retired Major League Baseball umpire Bruce Froemming.
The first rugby camp is held at Historic Dodgertown, by ATAVUS Rugby.
Historic Dodgertown accommodates post-Hurricane Matthew crews for regional clean-up and power restoration.
New international teams join returning guests in 2017: the China Women's National Softball Team, the China Men's National Baseball Team, the China Amigo youth baseball club, Montreal Alouettes and Saskatchewan Roughriders
Randy “Handsome Ransom” Jackson, who played for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1956-58, made his first visit to Historic Dodgertown since his playing days. Jackson, 91, took a walk down memory lane and shared those memories with Historic Dodgertown visitors and Presidents’ Day Tournament participants.
The annual Jackie Robinson Celebration Game is sold-out and played to a standing-room only crowd.
Major League Baseball introduces Girls Softball to the annual Elite Development Invitational. On-field coaches for the camp include Olympians Jennie Finch, Crystl Bustos, Alicia Hollowell, Jenny Topping and Lauren Lappin.
The Yale Rugby team hosts a training camp at Historic Dodgertown.
Dodgertown Elementary School fourth-grade students take a field trip to Historic Dodgertown for a history lesson about this famed property’s role in the Civil Rights movement.
High school stand-out Hunter Green, a 2015 MLB EDI camp participant at Historic Dodgertown, is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and selected #2 overall in the Free Agent Draft.
Historic Dodgertown accommodates post-Hurricane Irma crews for regional clean-up and power restoration.
Historic Dodgertown celebrates its 70th anniversary. When first opened in 1948, Dodgertown executives Walter O’Malley and Branch Rickey transformed the former Naval Air Station to Major League Baseball’s first fully-integrated Spring Training facility in the South. An anniversary logo is introduced with features representative of Historic Dodgertown, including palm trees seen throughout the property and at Holman Stadium, and the “70” in red to honor Dodger and the former Vero Beach Dodgers (single-A affiliate) uniforms.
Kirk Gibson, 1988 Dodgers World Series MVP, traveled to Historic Dodgertown to visit with Chairman Peter O’Malley. “I have been thinking a lot lately about 1988, being the 30th anniversary of our World Championship,” Gibson said. “Because I was in Florida, I took the invitation of Peter O’Malley to stop by and relive being part of the organization’s great accomplishments that year. I was really overwhelmed with the positive atmosphere this special brings to me.”
New and returning sports team utilize Historic Dodgertown for extended training, games and camps, including: China Women’s National Softball Team; the China Men’s National Baseball Team; the SK Wyverns from Korea; Bang Youth Baseball from China; Quinnipiac Women’s Rugby; Major League Baseball, youth, collegiate, amateur and professional sports teams.
Your Call Football launches its inaugural season at Historic Dodgertown with head coaches Mike Sherman and Merril Hoge. The app-based game allows fans to call the plays via cutting-edge and multi-patented technology.
The SK Wyverns return to Historic for their eighth Spring Training, this year as the 2018 Korea Baseball Series champions.
Historic Dodgertown, founded in 1948, played a significant role in U.S. Civil Rights history, announced its inclusion with the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a collection of churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks primarily in the Southern states where activists challenged segregation in the 1950s and 1960s to advance social justice. Historic Dodgertown is the only sports property on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, and is featured alongside famous sites and cities such as Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthplace in Atlanta; the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; the Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth’s where sitins began; and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, to name a few other prominent locations.