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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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A plan for Dodger Stadium

Photograph by Ray Graham / Los Angeles Times

Dodger Stadium under construction in a photo published April 22, 1961. (No, this image hasn't been Photoshopped. It's a large print so I had to scan it in two pieces and paste it together--lrh).

By Keith Thursby

Photograph by Ray Graham / Los Angeles Times
Project manager Ted Little stands at the edge of the bowl being excavated in Chavez Ravine, Dec. 11, 1958,
Turns out the Dodgers considered some Space Age concepts when building Dodger Stadium. Anyone for a ride on the Dodger monorail up to the ballpark? George Jetson would have been right at home.

Dick Walsh, a former Angels general manager who was director of stadium operations for the Dodgers during the stadium's construction, has a revealing interview with Robert Schweppe on that includes details about what might have been.

How wild were some of the ideas? Several involved transportation--along with the monorail the Dodgers considered a bridge overpass and a stadium tram. And don't forget the drive-in ticket window.

Inside the ballpark, they considered placing advertising on the outfield fences and infrared heating for seats on the field level. According to Walsh, outfield ads were rejected because Walter O'Malley decided, "We're going to keep the stadium pure."

Putting some seats on rollers to accommodate football was another idea. Walsh told Schweppe that Rams owner Dan Reeves "had talked to us about having his football club play in the stadium. Big discussions about that went on. Walter's position was that 'it was a baseball stadium. I'm not going to do that.' "

How about a series of Dodger monuments similar to the tributes in Yankee Stadium? Location and visibility problems made that difficult, Walsh said.

It's fun to think of the possibilities, but one of Dodger Stadium's best assets has been its simplicity. I'm showing my age here, but I've never been a fan of ballparks that bombard you with everything but the ballgame. But I sure would have liked that monorail.

Here's a link to the story.

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Comments (3)

Photoshopped? It almost looks like an architect's conceptual drawing!

Thanks for the great photos!

That monorail would be very useful today.

I think Dick Walsh's comments on the O'Malley website are spot on about a monorail being too cost prohibitive for a one sport facility like Dodger Stadium (how many events a year is the Stadium actually used for?)

I think what prompted these monorail considerations by Mr. O'Malley was the lack of any access to Dodger Stadium other than by automobile or bus.

At least, O'Malley tried. Don't know what to say about the current owner.

Given Frank McCourt's big plans for Chavez Ravine (pre financial meltdown), it would have been nice if some similar consideration had be given for some sort of fixed guideway people mover (a euphemism for monorail). Maybe even something from the Chinatown Gold Line Station. Or is the new development strickly to entice more auto traffic into the Chavez Ravine parking lots and planned parking structures?


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