On this day (March 29) in 2008, a record 115,300 baseball fans attended an exhibition game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Still the largest crowd for a game between two MLB teams). The game, which raised more than $1 million for the Dodgers’ “Think Cure!” cancer research charity, celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Dodgers’ 1958 move from Brooklyn to LA. The Dodgers played in the Coliseum from 1958 to 1961. (Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine opened in 1962.)
Note: While the newly transferred LA Dodgers awaited the 1962 completion of Dodger Stadium, they had a trio of potential sites for regular season games: LA’s Wrigley Field (most famous as the site of the Home Run Derby television series); the Rose Bowl; and the Coliseum.
The site of the March 29, 2008 game (and the Dodgers’ first four Los Angeles seasons), the Coliseum was originally built in 1923 primarily as a football stadium (also hosted Olympic events in 1932 and 1984). The oval-shaped Coliseum proved difficult to transform into a baseball park. The Dodgers ended up with: a VERY short left field porch (250-feet down the line, topped with a 40-foot-high screen); 320-feet to the left-center alley; 425-feet to center; a VERY deep 440-feet to right center; a right-field fence angling sharply to a 300-foot right field line. BBRT note: For the 2008 exhibition game, left field – adorned with a sixty-foot-high fence – was just 201 feet from the batters’ box.
By the way, for those who are interested in such things, the Red Sox won that March 29, 2008 game 7-4. Tim Wakefield started and threw five shutout innings, supported by a pair of Kevins – catcher Kevin Cash hit a three-run homer and first baseman Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run shot. For the Dodgers, Esteban Loiaza took the loss (five runs, two earned, in three innings) and first baseman James Loney hit a solo shot.
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