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Setback for stadium

July 15, 2008 |  9:31 am

July 15, 1958

By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

1958_0715_cover Los Angeles and the Dodgers lost a round in court in their efforts to build a baseball stadium in Chavez Ravine.

Superior Court Judge Arnold Praeger ruled that the contract between the city and the Dodgers was invalid. The deal had been struck when the team moved to Los Angeles, then voters narrowly approved it in a June 1958 election. Two local taxpayers then filed lawsuits trying to stop the deal.

The Times' main story led with a couple of painful sports metaphors, reporting that Judge Praeger "struck out the Dodgers' Chavez Ravine deal," which according to the paper was "a 32-page doubleheader decision."

The paper was a strong proponent of the ballpark and there were often clues in stories if you weren't sure where the paper stood. Deep in the main story on Praeger's ruling was this passage: "As for the voters who decided last June 3 that they were in favor of the Chavez Ravine recreational park--that doesn't count!" Interesting how the project was described.

In a story about city officials' reactions, Councilman John Holland was referred to as "perhaps the bitterest foe"  of the stadium plans. The ruling seemed certain to be appealed, but Holland instead hoped "that plans may be speedily revived to have the major league baseball stadium constructed near the Coliseum in or adjacent to Exposition Park."

Dodger owner Walter O'Malley remained confident that the ballpark would be built in Chavez Ravine.

"We came to California in the first place because we felt it was a fine country and because we wanted to build a new modern stadium," O'Malley said in a story by The Times' Al Wolf. "Chavez fits in perfectly with that plan--and we are not abandoning the program."