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Dodgers move outfield fence, January 10, 1959

January 10, 2009 |  8:00 am




The Dodgers announced they were moving the Coliseum fences in and The Times saw it as a victory for Duke Snider.

The dimensions were reduced in center (425 feet to 410) and right-center fields (440 to 385). The short porch and tall screen in left field weren't changed. The Times' Frank Finch noted that Snider hit 40 or more home runs in five consecutive seasons but hit only six home runs in the Coliseum in 1957.

"Time after time enemy outfielders camped under drives by Duke which would have been home runs in other National League parks," Finch wrote.

But Snider, in a story last year by The Times' Ross Newhan, blamed a 1957 knee surgery more than the Coliseum for his power decline. "That was before arthroscopic surgery and the knee was never the same," Snider said. "I was never the same hitter, I had to change my whole style. I had to try to be more of a contact hitter, a tough adjustment when you've been a free swinger your entire career."

Snider was no fan of the ballpark, however. "Baseball deserves its own identity," he said. "It shouldn't ever be piecemealed into a football and track stadium, which is what the Coliseum is."

One strange thing about the original story: General manager Buzzie Bavasi said the Dodgers wanted to get Manager Walt Alston's approval before making the changes official.

--Keith Thursby