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  • Daybreak at Chavez Ravine

  • Fernandomania and the Remaking of the Los Angeles Dodgers
  • By: Erik Sherman
  • Narrated by: Asa Siegel
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins

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Daybreak at Chavez Ravine

By: Erik Sherman
Narrated by: Asa Siegel
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Fernando Valenzuela was only twenty years old when Tom Lasorda chose him as the Dodgers' opening-day starting pitcher in 1981. Born in a remote Mexican town, the left-hander had moved to the US less than two years before. He became an instant icon and there hasn't been a player since who created as many Dodgers fans.

After the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles in the 1950s, relations were badly strained between the organization and the Latin world. Mexican Americans had been evicted from their homes in Chavez Ravine, LA-some forcibly-for well below market value so the city could sell the land for a new stadium. For a generation of working-class Mexican Americans, the Dodgers became a source of great anguish. However, that bitterness toward the Dodgers vanished during the 1981 season when Valenzuela attracted the fan base the Dodgers had tried in vain to reach for years. El Toro, as he was called, captured the imagination of the baseball world. A hero in Mexico, a legend in LA, and a phenomenon throughout the US, Valenzuela did more to change that tense political environment than anyone in the history of baseball. A new fan base flooded Dodger Stadium and ballparks around the US whenever Valenzuela pitched in a phenomenon that quickly became known as Fernandomania, which continued throughout a Dodger career that included six straight All-Star game appearances.

©2023 Erik Sherman (P)2024 Tantor

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