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1971

February 14, 1971

Peter O'Malley tells a story of the name of the new golf course in Dodgertown in a feature in Home Magazine in the Los Angeles Times. "We're putting in a new 18-hole golf course at Vero Beach that will be open to the public. Now, I wanted to call the new course Dodgertown-because, you know, that's what I think Vero Beach is all about. But Dad (Walter O'Malley) wanted to name it 'Safari Pines.' We really went round and round about that one." When asked what the name of the golf course would be, Peter said, "We're going to call the course Safari Pines."  1

February 18, 1971

Holman Stadium at Dodgertown saw its share of exhibition games, but other fields at Dodgertown received plenty of game use. The 1971 Spring Training section of the Vero Beach Press Journal showed a schedule of 10   games to be played on Field No. 1 and 14 games to be played on Field No. 2. Field No. 1 is the southern full field and Field No. 2 is the northern full field at Dodgertown. The games were between teams of Dodger minor league players or Dodger minor leaguers against minor league players of other major league clubs. 2

February 20, 1971

The Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for many seasons have flown on team airplanes to Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida for Spring Training. This year, the team again flew to Vero Beach, but this time it was the maiden flight of the "Kay 'O II", the second Dodger plane named for Kay O'Malley, the wife of Dodger Chairman, Walter O'Malley. This was no propeller plane, but a 720-B fanjet aircraft. The flight from Los Angeles that would take more than six hours was reduced to approximately 4 ¼ hours. The plane was christened at Los Angeles International Airport by Mrs. O'Malley with a bottle of champagne. The 720-B aircraft could seat 105 persons, with all the seats being first class and more leg room than a commercial flight. The Dodgers were the first team to own their own airplane, and now they are the first sports team to own a jet aircraft. 3 Claude Osteen said of the team jet, "This plane has got to be a great lift. It will make it easier for us. It will also make us try that much harder (on the field)." 4 Richie Allen, recently traded to the Dodgers said, "I finally feel like I'm in the major leagues." 5 The 720-B jet is considered to be the largest corporate-owned jet in the world. 6 Walter O'Malley was served lunch on his first flight with filet mignon and said, "Steak? How in the world can we afford steak?" 7

February 21, 1971

Walter O'Malley indirectly suggested this Spring Training will be the last for the Dodgertown barracks to house staff and team personnel. Two years ago as an example of team spirit, a campaign was begun to save the barracks. One player said, "The spirit is still there but the barracks have to go. This year the theme is 'Burn the Barracks.'"  8

February 22, 1971

Richie Allen talked of his pleasure of being traded to the Dodgers. "Let me tell you just how far the Dodgers have gone to make me feel a part of this team. When we landed they gave me a package of Florida products. It even included suntan lotion." Allen also discussed the value of Dodgertown, "It looks like the perfect place to train. In fact, this whole thing (Dodgertown) is what I've always thought the big leagues would be like. I mean it's just the way the Dodgers treat you. Everyone is the same-the rookies and the veterans-and everyone feels like they're playing a part."  9

February 28, 1971

Los Angeles Times sportswriter Shav Glick covered golf in Southern California, but listed a note in a column of the No. 3 Hole at Safari Pines Golf Course, built by Walter O'Malley. The third hole at Safari Pines is a rare par 6, 667 yards long.  10

February 28, 1971

Rookie Bobby Darwin is being converted from pitcher to outfielder and showed why by hitting what some people thought was the longest home run in the history of Dodgertown. After Darwin hit his massive home run in a Dodger intrasquad game, Walter O'Malley and Vice President Al Campanis rode a golf cart past the left field embankment to make a personal measurement. Their calculation was the ball was slugged 514 feet away from home plate and rolled an additional 200 feet.  11

March 5, 1971

A six-foot rattlesnake was discovered and removed from the 18th hole at the new Safari Pines golf course owned by the Dodgers near their Spring Training base at Dodgertown. Player Bill Grabarkewitz said of the snake announcement, "They keep making this hole tougher and tougher."  12

March 9, 1971

Former Dodger outfielder and current team hitting instructor Fred "Dixie" Walker was honored by Dodger Chairman Walter O'Malley with a silver bat to commemorate his 1944 National League batting title with a .357 batting average. However, the Silver Bat award was first awarded to batting average champions in 1949 when Jackie Robinson won the National League batting crown. Since Walker did not have a silver bat, Walter O'Malley decided Walker's achievement deserved recognition. The Dodger owner ordered a silver plated bat and presented it to Walker in Spring Training in Dodgertown. The barrel of the bat contains the legend "Genuine Dixie Walker Louisville Slugger-Batting Champion 1944-National League B.A. (batting average) .357. On the handle of the bat, it reads, "Presented by Walter O'Malley-Spring of 1971."  13

March 11, 1971

Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully was asked if he had yet played the new 18-hole Safari Pines golf course built by Walter O'Malley near the Dodgertown base. Scully said he had not yet played the course but heard "On that layout (golf course), a five-footer (putt) means a snake."  14

March 12, 1971

The Dodgers defeated the Yomiuri Giants from Tokyo, 2-1 when Jim Lefebvre hits a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Before the game, the Dodger and Giant players exchanged playing caps with each other. Then the Dodger players presented Yomiuri Giant players with Dodger jackets. 15 Giant right-hand pitcher Tsumeo Horiuchi struck out 11 in seven innings and was complimented by first baseman Wes Parker who said, "He (Horiuchi) could start for any team in the majors. His stuff is outstanding." 16

March 14, 1971

Columnist Jack Murphy of the San Diego Union writes in a column that Walter O'Malley "just missed an eagle the other day on the unusual six-par, 660-yard hole that distinguishes his new 18-hole course."  17

March 16, 1971

Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh visited Richie Allen in the Dodger clubhouse to exchange bats with the great Dodger slugger. Oh offered Allen a model of his 31-ounce bats and was surprised to find the weight of Allen's bat to be a massive 39 ½ ounces, one of the heaviest bats swung in the major leagues.  18

March 16, 1971

Dodger owner Walter O'Malley commented on a recent national magazine article criticizing the future of baseball. "I answer by saying," said O'Malley, 'Look at the Dodgers. Look at our stadium, the new jet, the models for the new living quarters in Dodgertown. We're constantly putting our resources back into the game. That's a pretty good indication of how bright we think baseball's future is….Baseball is still the popular-priced sport. We haven't raised our price since we came to Los Angeles. Sure, football and basketball have gained in popularity and their seasons keep getting longer, but in many ways each sport complements the other. We want as much interest in athletics as we can get.'"  19

March 17, 1971

The Dodgers' Triple-A Manager at Spokane, Tom Lasorda, was encouraging minor league pitchers as they ran wind sprints in preparation for the season. Lasorda told his running pitchers, "You're all making good money out here. It's not a lot of money, but it's all good."  20

March 19, 1971

Ladies' Professional Golfer Jackie Pung was a visitor to Dodgertown to prepare her game for the women's tour. Pung was a five-time winner on the LPGA tour and partnered with Maury Wills to face Jim Gilliam and Willie Davis in a golf match. Pung and Wills combined to defeat Gilliam and Davis by one stroke. 21 Pung told Bill Miller of the Santa Monica Evening Outlook of her love of Dodgertown. "If I could afford it," said Pung, "I'd bring all of Dodgertown to it (Hawaii). This is the next best place to Hawaii. Everyone's so friendly." 22

March 25, 1971

Dodger outfielder Richie Allen ran into a Royal Palm Tree at Holman Stadium and the outfielder was briefly knocked unconscious. The trees were planted in a semi-circle around the outfield. At that time, there was no protective fence at Holman Stadium from the trees. Allen was in pre-game practice shagging fly balls when he went back for one ball hit to him and he crashed into the tree. 23 Allen was able to joke of the situation. "I hope at least I left a dent on the tree." 24

March 25, 1971

Satirical columnist Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times writes of Dodgertown and anticipated changes to happen to the Spring Training base. "Well, now they're going to bulldoze Dodgertown!.....Don't they realize Pee Wee Reese slept here?.....Walter O'Malley's cigar ashes are all over the place. Maury Wills first learned to hit a banjo here…..It's not all history that makes Dodgertown worth preserving. There is the intrinsic charm of the place….In Dodgertown, when you check in, you first find out which bulbs in the light sockets are working, which windows won't open, and which won't close…..The showers turn on by themselves, usually at 4 o'clock in the morning…..Baseball has suffered enough…..Let's get together and keep the chrome and glass and hot running water and French phones and draperies and air conditioning out of Dodgertown…Let's save this historical monument no amount of money can restore. And hurry! The bulldozers are at work in the orange groves right now and Iowans are already writing for reservations for the whole family."  25

March 27, 1971

The experiment of this year's Spring Training is the switch-hitting attempt made by Bill Russell. Russell, a natural right-hand hitter, tried hitting from the left side to see if it gave him an advantage at the plate. In this game, Russell had two hits from the left side and drove in two runs as the Dodgers defeated the Astros, 5-1. However, once the season started, Russell returned to his regular right side as a hitter.  26

March 27, 1971

Dodger Chairman Walter O'Malley looks ahead to the future of baseball and recommends the 12 teams in the National and American League be reconfigured to three divisions of four teams. O'Malley said, "We should try to keep each team in the race as long as possible." The suggestion was not acted upon at that time, but in 1994 the Major Leagues changed to a three-division format.  27

March 27, 1971

Dodgertown was admired throughout baseball as a model Spring Training base. Montreal Expos General Manager Jim Fanning said of Spring Training camp, "The ultimate would be to have a set-up like the Dodgers have at Vero Beach." Sportswriter Ian MacDonald wrote in the same story, "Whenever training camp sites are discussed with baseball people, the Vero Beach home of the Dodgers is mentioned." Montreal Expos broadcaster and former Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale said, "I hate to keep bringing it up, but the camp at Vero was just super. Everyone was under one roof. All those minor (league) players were working and living with the major leaguers. Whenever they finished their drills or workouts for the day, they would have to go and watch the big leaguers finish. When the big team played intersquad games, we had to sit in the stands and watch. You had to learn that way. You see how much a couple of young fellows with this camp are learning. Well, at Vero (Beach), every kid in the organization had that chance."  28

April 1, 1971

The April Fool's joke of this spring was the offer of $1 million by the Montreal Expos for Dodgertown. Dodger President Peter O'Malley explained how it was a misunderstanding. "What happened," said O'Malley, "was that one day I was talking to Don Drysdale (Montreal Expos announcer and former Dodger pitcher) and he was telling me about all the good young pitching talent the Expos have. So I said to him, 'Ok, since your club is looking for a place to train, we'll trade you our barracks for all your young pitchers." In fact, the Dodgers were in the process of planning for new sleeping rooms for players and staff to be ready for Spring Training in 1972. 29

April 3, 1971

The Sporting News has a feature of former Dodger employee Herman Levy, now working for the San Diego Padres in their clubhouse. Levy previously worked in the Dodgertown post office, but was known through Dodgertown for his morning flag raising ceremonies. Levy would stride to the flagpole with an American flag under his arm and raise the colors with pride and dignity. When the American flag was properly raised to its height, Levy would recite the Pledge of Allegiance to anyone who would listen.  30

April 3, 1971

Don Drysdale, now a broadcaster for the Montreal Expos, was getting ready to enter the Dodger clubhouse in Dodgertown before an Expo-Dodger in Dodgertown. For years, the Dodger policy was that no unsigned players to a contract were permitted on the base. Drysdale had retired from playing in 1969. As Walter O'Malley saw Drysdale, he said, "You (Drysdale) can't go in there. You haven't signed your contract yet." "I'm ready," was Drysdale's response.  31

April 3, 1971

Columnist Melvin Durslag of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner wrote of an invitation by Walter O'Malley to Sandy Koufax to travel to Dodgertown in the new 720-B jet owned by the club. O'Malley wrote to Koufax that "If the roof leaks above your room, we'll even give you a new pail (to catch the water)."  32

April 17, 1971

Ray Bolger, the "Scarecrow" from the Wizard of Oz and one of America's greatest song and dance personalities, is a Spring Training visitor to Dodgertown. Bolger finds time to play a round of golf with Walter O'Malley at the new Safari Pines golf course owned by the Dodgers near the Spring Training base.  33

July 24, 1971

Roy Campanella tells sportswriter Bob Broeg of The Sporting News of the time he informed Dodger Manager Walter Alston of a young, right-hand pitcher on the staff at Dodgertown in Spring Training. Campanella recalled telling Alston, "I just saw a big tall kid who impressed me, Skipper (Alston). Let me catch him for three innings against the Yankees next week and I'll give you a good line on him." The right-hand pitcher was Don Drysdale, a future Hall of Famer.  34

1 ^ Patrick McNulty, Home Magazine, Los Angeles Times, February 14, 1971

2 ^ Vero Beach Press Journal, February 18, 1971

3 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1971

4 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1971    

5 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1971 

6 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1971         

7 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1971       

8 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1971     

9 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, February 22, 1971

10 ^ Shav Glick, Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1971

11 ^ United Press International, March 1, 1971

12 ^ Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 5, 1971

13 ^ Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 10, 1971

14 ^ Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 11, 1971

15 ^ Bob Hunter, The Sporting News, April 3, 1971

16 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, March 13, 1971

17 ^ Jack Murphy, San Diego Union, March 14, 1971

18 ^ Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 16, 1971

19 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1971

20 ^ Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 17, 1971

21 ^ Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 19, 1971

22 ^ Bill Miller, Santa Monica Evening Outlook, March 13, 1971

23 ^ Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 25, 1971

24 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, March 26, 1971

25 ^ Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times, March 25, 1971

26 ^ The Sporting News, April 10, 1971

27 ^ The Sporting News, March 27, 1971

28 ^ Ian MacDonald, The Sporting News, March 27, 1971

29 ^ Ross Newhan, Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1971

30 ^ Jack Murphy, The Sporting News, April 3, 1971

31 ^ Ross Newhan, The Sporting News, April 3, 1971

32 ^ Melvin Durslag, The Sporting News, April 3, 1971

33 ^ Bob Hunter, The Sporting News, April 17, 1971

34 ^ Bob Broeg, The Sporting News, July 24, 1971

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