Dodgers to retire Valenzuela's No. 34

February 5th, 2023

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers announced on Saturday that the organization will retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 jersey this summer during a three-day “Fernandomania” celebration.

The weekend will start on Friday, Aug. 11, which is when Valenzuela’s No. 34 will be unveiled at Dodger Stadium. There will be a collector’s edition bobblehead giveaway on Saturday, Aug. 12, and a replica Valenzuela 1981 World Series ring will be handed out on Sunday, Aug. 13.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans -- the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them. I’m happy for all the fans and all the people who have followed my career. They’re going to be very excited to know that my No. 34 is being retired.”

Valenzuela is one of the most influential and decorated players in the organization’s long and storied history. His rise during the ’81 season has been well-documented and it’s one of the most successful stretches of any pitcher in Major League history. It was the birth of “Fernandomania,” a phenomenon that is celebrated to this date.

The Mexican left-hander was a member of two World Series teams during his career, won the 1981 NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards, was selected to six All-Star teams and took home two Silver Slugger Awards as he became one of the best-hitting pitchers in the Majors.

But Valenzuela’s impact extended well past the diamond. He served as the perfect connection between the Dodgers and the large Mexican population in Los Angeles, creating a new wave of baseball and Dodgers fans throughout the process.

“It’s going to be a very, very special night,” said Jaime Jarrín, the longtime Dodgers Spanish-language broadcaster who retired following the 2022 season. “The people love him. It’s amazing. He left the Dodgers almost 40 years ago and still, when he’s here and the people feel that his name is going to be mentioned in some way, they turn to the booth right away and give him a large applause. People love him. It’s unbelievable, and his charisma is very, very, very special.”

Despite his success and impact in the community, the Dodgers hadn’t officially retired Valenzuela’s jersey because of their policy to retire only the numbers of players who get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The No. 34 has not been handed out since Valenzuela left the Dodgers.

On Saturday, Dodgers president Stan Kasten said during FanFest that the organization sat down this offseason and reviewed the policy, noting it was important to the fans that Valenzuela’s number was recognized in the team’s Ring of Honor, along with (No. 1), Tommy Lasorda (2), (4), Gil Hodges (14). Jim Gilliam (19), (20), Walter Alston (24), (32), (39), Jackie Robinson (42), (53) and Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Jarrín.

“I am incredibly happy that No. 34 for the Los Angeles Dodgers will be retired forever,” Kasten said. “The one question that I continuously get asked, more than anything else, is about retiring Fernando Valenzuela’s number. The citywide call by our fans to honor him is truly remarkable.

“What he accomplished during his playing career, not only on the field but in the community, is extraordinary. He truly lit up the imaginations of baseball fans everywhere. It’s hard to envision a player having a greater impact on a fan base than the one Fernando has had.”

Valenzuela said the thought of his jersey never getting retired didn’t cross his mind, but he hoped to remain patient enough to one day get the recognition. Jarrín had noted in the past that he hoped to hear the announcement of the jersey retirement while he’s still alive. It’s a moment a lot of people waited decades for, and on Aug. 11, “El Toro” will take his place among other Dodgers legends.

“They just told me when I got here today, and it’s going to be something special,” said Dodgers left-hander . “I didn’t get to watch him pitch, but I’ll be able to be here when they retire his jersey. He deserves that honor. That’s going to be an unforgettable moment for me.”