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1963

January 12, 1963

The Vero Beach Press Journal looks forward to the Los Angeles Dodgers' Spring Training season and speaks to Dodgertown Camp Director Peter O'Malley. The feature discusses the number of issues to be resolved so the players can be ready for training on their arrival. O'Malley concluded by saying, "But I still think we've got the best Spring Training camp in baseball…there may be some with modern facilities….but Dodgertown still comes out on top. We're very happy here…we're proud of our camp."  1

January 24, 1963

Vero Beach is mentioned in the Hollywood column by Louella Parsons, renowned for her press coverage of Hollywood. Miss Parsons wrote of Dodger players performing with "Mr. Television" Milton Berle at the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami. Ms. Parsons' note concludes, "Miami is close to VERO BEACH, where the Dodgers start Spring Training soon."  2

February 24, 1963

The Dodgers' Spring Training camp opened, but the show must go on for Maury Wills. The 1962 National League Most Valuable Player was performing in a show with comedian Milton Berle at the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach. The act also featured other Dodger players such as Willie Davis, Don Drysdale, Frank Howard, Sandy Koufax and Duke Snider. 3 Wills did not want to miss the first day of workouts in Dodgertown. In order to be there with the team, Wills played the banjo and accompanied himself on the guitar in the Saturday night show in Miami Beach, then drove 130 miles to Vero Beach to be ready for the Sunday workout. After the Sunday workout, he returned to Miami Beach for his final show and on Monday morning, he was back in Dodgertown for the workout. 4

February 28, 1963

Peter O'Malley sends a message of thanks to John Schumann, Jr., publisher of the Vero Beach Press Journalregarding the special section on the Dodgers' Spring Training season. "There is no doubt in my mind that this year's Vero Beach Press Journal Dodger edition was the finest ever. Not only was it bigger than in years previous, it seems to me to have been the result of much planning and preparation."  5

March 1, 1963

Dodgertown is the subject of a feature hosted by NBC Today's host Jack Lescoulie. The program was scheduled to be aired on March 11th.  6

March 1, 1963

Sandy Koufax said he would now bat from the right hand side after suffering his unfortunate 1962 finger injury. To protect his left arm, Koufax, originally a right hand hitter, switched to the left side to hit to expose his non-pitching arm and elbow to the pitcher in a game in May, 1962. He swung the bat left-handed on an inside pitch and the contact of bat to ball caused a blood clot in the palm of the left hand. "At first it didn't bother me, but then a couple of fingers began to grow numb," said Koufax. "The circulation in my index finger stopped and it became infected…..I'm batting right-handed from now on."  7

March 3, 1963

Vero Beach City Councilman J. Noble Richards, speaks of the relationship of the City of Vero Beach and the Los Angeles Dodgers. "The City of Vero Beach has the best deal of all - with its ball club," said Richards. Richards showed one city built a $250,000 Spring Training stadium and another city pays the team $18,000 a year to train in the city. "It's very obvious that it's next to impossible to determine the value of the Dodgers. If you attempted to buy space in newspapers, in radio, national publications and TV whereby Vero Beach is mentioned in conjunction with Dodgertown activities it would cost over a million dollars, if that space would be available."  8

March 4, 1963

Walter O'Malley broke up the usual routine of Spring Training as he hosted a trip for Dodgertown guests to Nassau, The Bahamas. The one-day visit was a special celebration on the announcement of the birth of the fourth O'Malley grandchild, a girl named Mary Kay born that morning to Terry O'Malley Seidler, daughter of Kay and Walter.  9

March 8, 1963

Columnist Maxwell Stiles writes a column of Dodgertown Camp Director Peter O'Malley and the direction of the camp under his leadership. Peter spoke of the value of Dodgertown, "The greatest advantage of our setup here at Vero Beach is that everyone is under one roof from my dad right down through the minor leagues-players, managers, scouts, umpires, press."  10

March 9, 1963

The best news possible for the Dodgers came early in Spring Training as Sandy Koufax pronounced himself healthy and ready for the season. Koufax missed nearly half of the 1962 season with a blood clot in the index finger in his left hand. "My finger feels as good as ever," said Koufax, "and my arm feels much better than it did at the same time last spring." Koufax would go on to win the 1963 Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award during the 1963 World Championship season. 11 After he allowed one run in three innings in a game on March 10th, Koufax said, "I can't remember a spring when I've felt so good." 12

March 13, 1963

It was revealed that former Dodgers Roy Campanella, Carl Erskine, Dale Mitchell, Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson were still on the Los Angeles Dodger major league roster as members of the voluntary retired list. The only reason the issue received attention was the Dodgers gave Erskine his unconditional release from their roster in order he might pursue a baseball job with another team.  13

March 16, 1963

Nineteen-year old Bowdewijn Maat arrived from the Netherlands to undergo Spring Training with Dodger minor league players in Dodgertown. Maat had been invited by the Dodgers on a request from the Royal Dutch Baseball Association.  14

March 18, 1963

Sandy Koufax struck out 13 hitters in seven innings which is not a surprise, but where he did it, is. He performed the feat in a 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox in a Spring Training exhibition game.

March 23, 1963

Walter O'Malley teased his son Peter in a column in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and re-printed in The Sporting News. The Dodger owner spoke of the operation of Dodgertown under the leadership of his son, Peter. "They teach differently these days at college," said O'Malley. "They learn, for instance, napkin control in the dining room. You use so many napkins for so many people. When I went to Penn, they never taught us things like that. For years, I passed out napkins willy-nilly."  15

March 23, 1963

Members of the Stadium Club restaurant at Dodger Stadium came as a group to Dodgertown to view Spring Training. The Dodgers arranged for regular activities for the touring group as hosting dinners each night with Walter Alston, Vice Presidents Fresco Thompson and Buzzie Bavasi and Dodger coaches Greg Mulleavy and Joe Becker. During the day, the visitors attended a tour of Dodgertown, base-stealing techniques by Maury Wills, a review of a training workout with team instructors and a question and answer period with selected Dodger players.  16

April 1, 1963

In his last at bat in a Dodger uniform, Duke Snider tripled off future Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts at Holman Stadium in Vero Beach. Later that day, the New York Mets acquired Snider's contract from the Dodgers. Snider signed his first professional contract with the Dodgers in 1944 and joined the major league club in 1948. Snider would be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.  17

April 2, 1963

Sports columnist Jim Murray aimed his humor at the city of Vero Beach in a column at the end of Spring Training in Florida. "The Dodgers train at Vero Beach, a case of arrested municipal development Stephen Foster somehow overlooked. It gives you fair warning because you come into it via an airport that is a wind-sock stop about as up-to-date as the Spad (An old version of an airplane). It hasn't been painted in so long you have to think the Union Army interrupted the first coat….You don't have any phone in your room or radio or TV but you can sign up for fly-paper if you want." Murray wrote of the night Walter Alston caught two Dodger players out after curfew. "I have a very famous room in Barracks B. There is a hole in the door-the Sandy Koufax-Walt Alston-Larry Sherry memorial hole in the door which may someday be given a historical marker with suitable ceremonies….."  18

April 27, 1963

Even former Dodgers with other clubs praised the value of Dodgertown. Right-hand pitcher Ed Rakow of the Kansas City Athletics had pitched in the Dodger organization before a trade to Kansas City gave him his opportunity. "I think the camp the Dodgers have at Vero Beach is the greatest thing I've seen anywhere," said Rakow. "All the organization officials are there and, if a young player shows something, he can advance in a hurry."  19

October 3, 1963

The Vero Beach Press Journal and Vero Beach radio station WTTB sponsored a telegram that was signed by 608 Dodger fans to the team as they prepared for the 1963 World Series. The telegram was recorded as being 20 feet long as it contained the names of Vero Beach citizens. The Dodgers received the telegram before they defeated the New York Yankees in the first game, 5-2, behind Sandy Koufax' 15 strikeouts.  20

1 ^ Irv Deibert, Vero Beach Bureau Chief, January 12, 1963

2 ^ Louella Parson, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, January 18, 1963

3 ^ Dave Brady, The Sporting News, March 2, 1963

4 ^ Bob Hunter, The Sporting News, February 23, 1963

5 ^ Peter O'Malley, Letters to the Editor, Vero Beach Press Journal, February 28, 1963

6 ^ Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 1, 1963

7 ^ Frank Finch, Los Angeles Times, March 1, 1963

8 ^ Roberta Pollock, Vero Beach Press Journal, March 3, 1963

9 ^ Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 16, 1963

10 ^ Maxwell Stiles, Hollywood Citizen-News, March 8, 1963

11 ^ Bob Hunter, The Sporting News, March 9, 1963

12 ^ Bob Hunter, The Sporting News, March 23, 1963

13 ^ Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 13, 1963

14 ^ The Sporting News, March 16, 1963

15 ^ Melvin Durslag, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, The Sporting News, March 23, 1963

16 ^ Bob Hunter, The Sporting News, March 23, 1963 

17 ^ Frank Finch, Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1963

18 ^ Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1963

19 ^ Joe McGuff, The Sporting News, April 27, 1963

20 ^ Vero Beach Press Journal, October 3, 1963

For more on the history of the Dodgers Spring Training visit walteromalley.com