Dodgers to celebrate 50 years in LA

Dodgers to celebrate 50 years in LA

LOS ANGELES -- On Oct. 8, 1957, former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley announced that after 68 years in Brooklyn, the Dodgers were headed west to Los Angeles.

A half-century later, the move has been nothing short of a win-win for the Dodgers and for baseball.

Now, on the verge of the team's "Golden Anniversary" on the West Coast, the Dodgers are ready to celebrate 50 years in L.A. in style. The team will mark the event with fans around the world through a series of historical, cultural and promotional events that are unique to Los Angeles, honoring the legacy of the franchise and its players.

Wednesday night, prior to the game against the Padres, the Dodgers will kick off the celebration by welcoming fans to vote for the "Top 50 moments in L.A. Dodger History" and the "All-Time L.A. Dodger team" on Dodgers.com, with the results being unveiled during the 2008 season.

"The Golden Anniversary of the Dodgers moving to Los Angeles is an opportunity to celebrate the incredible relationship between the team, the players, the city and the fans," said Dodgers vice chairman and president Jamie McCourt. "Many Angelenos fell in love with baseball when the Dodgers arrived in Los Angeles, and throughout the 2008 season we want to invite our fans to participate in the celebration and thank them for their continued support."

The West Coast history of the Dodgers includes World Series titles, Hall of Fame performers and some of baseball's most memorable moments -- and the team didn't take long to make its mark in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers made their move to L.A. in 1958 and defeated the San Francisco Giants, who also relocated from New York, in their first game in L.A. at the Coliseum on April 18, 1958. In 1959, with the likes of Duke Snider, John Roseboro, Wally Moon, Gil Hodges and Don Drysdale, the Dodgers won their first World Series in L.A., defeating the Chicago White Sox in six games.

After four seasons at the Coliseum, O'Malley moved the team to its permanent home, a 56,000-seat stadium overlooking downtown L.A. The Dodgers played their first game at Dodger Stadium on April 10, 1962, losing to the Cincinnati Reds, 6-3, and won their first game at home the following night, 6-3. Since its inception in 1962, more than 125 million fans have visited Dodger Stadium, and in 2003, the stadium was named the best in baseball by Sports Illustrated.

As a tribute to the team's history in L.A., the Dodgers will highlight a different decade each month next season. Starting in April, the team will highlight the '50s, in May the '60s, in June the '70s, in July the '80s, in August the '90s and in September, 2000-2007.

The 2008 season also marks the 20th anniversary of the 1988 World Series championship, which will receive a special tribute in July.

The Dodgers' celebration will take place well beyond the confines of the ballpark -- from Hollywood to Pasadena and beyond.

Over the years, the Dodgers have formed a special relationship with Hollywood, including the annual Hollywood Stars game. In February, the Dodgers will receive a star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star will be presented by Johnny Grant, a chairman of the Walk of Fame Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

"The relationship between the Dodgers and Hollywood has lasted longer than most Hollywood marriages," Grant said. "We are proud to honor the Dodgers with a star on the Walk of Fame."

In addition to the star, the Dodgers will participate in their first Tournament of Roses Parade. The Dodgers will officially commence the 50th anniversary celebration on Jan. 1, 2008, when Dodgers legends past and present ride on a float through Pasadena in the 119th Rose Parade. Fans will have an opportunity to volunteer to decorate the float, win a seat on the float and purchase seats in the Dodgers Grandstands on the Rose Parade route.

"Baseball -- like the Rose Parade -- is a celebration of the American spirit, and the Dodgers have been a Los Angeles institution since arriving from Brooklyn 50 years ago," said C.L. Keedy, president of the Tournament of Roses. "My grandfather and I listened to the games on the radio, and I could not think of a more perfect place for the Dodgers to kick off their golden anniversary than at the Rose Parade on New Year's Day."

Longtime Dodgers sponsors, including Farmer John, 76, Coca Cola, La Opinion, Carl's Jr. and others will commemorate the 50th anniversary with a variety of promotional events, sweepstakes, contests and special programs throughout the 2008 season.

Fans will have the opportunity to purchase commemorative merchandise specifically made to celebrate the 50th anniversary at Dodgers retail stores. Additional items featuring the 50th anniversary's official logo will be available at retail stores next season.

Legendary sports artist Stephen Holland has been commissioned to create an original work of art for the occasion, which will be unveiled on Opening Day 2008.

Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.