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Photos: When The Dodgers First Landed In Los Angeles In 1958
Unless your long-term memory has been wiped clean by mysterious men in black suits working for some covert government agency, you already know that the Dodgers came to L.A. via Brooklyn (the story is probably more complicated than you may think; Walter O'Malley, who brought the Dodgers here, had actually worked to keep the team in Brooklyn).
What sometimes gets forgotten is the jubilant welcome the team received. The Dodgers were popular from the get-go; they played their first few seasons at the Coliseum, and drew a crowd of 78,672 fans (then a league record for single-game attendance) for their first game ever as an L.A. team. By the end of the inaugural season, 1,845,556 fans had seen the Dodgers play in L.A., which was over 800,000 more than what the team drew in Brooklyn in the previous season.
It all stands in stark contrast to what other L.A. teams would face upon arriving in the Southland. The Kings toiled away in a thankless lot for four decades before the Stanley Cup brought them real, lasting attention (they went to the finals in 1993, but the fanfare died pretty quick after that). And let’s not even get into the Rams' and Chargers' underwhelming returns to L.A. While most other teams are tasked with winning to gain acceptance, it seemed that the Dodgers were regarded as a part of the city's fabric the moment they set foot in L.A.
Which is all to say that that first season in 1958 was pretty magical. The Dodgers would put up a losing record, but fans were still treated to the play of Duke Snider and a still-developing Sandy Koufax. There was a whole parade that escorted them to their first game, and entertainment stars would drop in to schmooze. It seemed like the team could do no wrong. It would be only a year later when residents in Chavez Ravine were forcibly evicted from their homes as construction for Dodger Stadium took hold. But, for that one shining year in 1958, everything was still a fairy tale.
We’ve gathered some images of that remarkable first year from the Los Angeles Public Library. As you can see, the Los Angeles Dodgers were beloved from the very first day.