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Wrigley Field, October 17, 1958

October 17, 2008 |  6:30 am
Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle in "Home Run Derby" at Wrigley Field.
By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

Found a small but intriguing story about off-season baseball at Wrigley Field.

Can you imagine seeing the 1958 Dodgers in the friendly confines of Los Angeles' Wrigley Field instead of the Coliseum? The Times ran a three-paragraph announcement of a game against the Los Angeles Eagles, referred to as "an all-star Negro array." Admission was all of 50 cents and parking was free.

Granted, it wasn't the Dodgers but a collection of current players and minor leaguers. But there were enough recognizable names to draw fans. I would have paid 50 cents happily to see a team that included Willie Davis, Don Zimmer, Ron Fairly and Sparky Anderson. Zimmer hit a three-run home run in a 13-1 victory.

It was not the Dodgers' only appearance during the off-season at Wrigley Field. In November, there was at least one reference in The Times to Southern California Winter League games at Wrigley Field. The Dodger team was called the Dodger Juniors.

Wrigley Field had been without a team since the Pacific Coast League's Angels and Hollywood Stars were sent packing. The ballpark was part of the complicated deal to bring the Dodgers to L.A. and eventually a baseball stadium to Chavez Ravine.

Wrigley Field is long gone but lives on in episodes of "Home Run Derby." The production values are prehistoric and the banter between host Mark Scott (who used to broadcast Hollywood Stars games) and the major league stars can be forced, but it's fun getting a glimpse of the old ballpark. Here's an example found on YouTube, with Willie Mays taking on Mickey Mantle.