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A Dodger Stadium helipad, monorail? Almost

@kengurnick
November 20, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are hopeful that next year they can unveil the dramatic improvements made in the renovation of 58-year-old Dodger Stadium, which was built by Walter O’Malley in 1962 at a cost of $23 million. At the time, the stadium was cutting edge in its design and

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are hopeful that next year they can unveil the dramatic improvements made in the renovation of 58-year-old Dodger Stadium, which was built by Walter O’Malley in 1962 at a cost of $23 million.

At the time, the stadium was cutting edge in its design and construction. But according to information on walteromalley.com that was provided by Dick Walsh, vice president of stadium operations from 1958-66, there were dozens of innovations considered but rejected, and here are a few of those:

A helipad at the nearby LAPD Academy
Remember when Zack Greinke and Yasiel Puig explored the idea of commuting to their baseball job by helicopter? Well, that wasn’t an original ballplayer idea. O’Malley met with William Parker, then the chief of police, about a helipad that would be available for the LAPD and anyone else. It would have been located on the plateau beyond the left-center parking lot, but it was never realized.

Infrared heating for box seats
Even in sunny California, the April nights are cool. Coming from Brooklyn, O’Malley was sensitive to the weather discouraging attendance. The suggestion was to place heaters underneath the overhanging loge level to radiate heat onto the field level seats. Challenges with creating a band of power throughout the decks nixed the idea.

A monorail
It proved to be cost prohibitive, but O’Malley was intrigued by the thought of a monorail, which was already in use at Disneyland. According to Walsh: “It would bring people from the outlying areas, ultimately to bring them from the advance ticket location down below and at one time to run through the stadium, literally run through the stadium from the end of one level to the end of another level at the back at the concourse area. That was the first idea. It would stop at every level. And you would be able to bring people from the far reaches. It was cost prohibitive but just not feasible. That was something that Walter O’Malley thought was a great idea. It just didn’t work out.”

Monuments
Just like in Yankee Stadium, O’Malley envisioned a monument park honoring franchise legends, targeting the open space between the left- and right-field pavilions. It was decided there wasn’t sufficient room for the monuments with the need for the batter’s eye background.

Stadium section on rollers
One of the reported reasons that Peter O’Malley sold the Dodgers was civic opposition to his plan to build a football stadium in the parking lot for an NFL franchise. When he originally built Dodger Stadium, Walter O’Malley had the option to install seating sections on rollers to enable transforming the baseball configuration to a football field, as was done at the time at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The Rams had even talked to O’Malley about playing games at Dodger Stadium instead of the cavernous Coliseum, but the Dodgers owner rejected the idea and kept it a baseball-only stadium.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.