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1985

February 21, 1985

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers' 1955 World Championship team, former players gathered at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida on the invitation of Peter O'Malley. During the four day reunion, O'Malley hosted the 1955 players and their spouses as they watched the early days of Spring Training workouts, played on the Dodgertown golf courses, and enjoyed Spring Training more than they did in their playing days. Among the players who attended were Roy Campanella, Roger Craig, Carl Erskine, Carl Furillo, Tom Lasorda, Clem Labine, Sandy Koufax, Don Newcombe, Johnny Podres, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, and Don Zimmer. 1

February 25, 1985

The Dodgers dedicated Pee Wee Reese Road in Dodgertown to honor Harold "Pee Wee" Reese, the Dodger "Captain" upon his recent election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The dedication occurred during a reunion of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodger World Championship team. It is a Dodgertown tradition to name a street there when any former Dodger players have been named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Reese Road intersects with Jackie Robinson Avenue on the base. 2

February 26, 1985

Former UCLA track Coach Jim Bush is in Dodgertown helping the team in running and conditioning. As part of his workouts, Dodger players were seen running on the 16th Street Bridge in Vero Beach, Florida that spans the Indian River. The bridge runs were challenging as the players ran up the bridge for 120 yards at a 10 degree grade. 3

February 27, 1985

The Samsung Lions baseball team from South Korea arrives in Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida as guests of the Los Angeles Dodgers to learn advanced baseball techniques from the major league and minor league field staff. This is the first time a professional Korean team would conduct Spring Training with a major league club. The team will consist of 25 players including manager Kim Young Duck. Three players on the Samsung club, Kim Seong Kab, Kim Yeong Kook and Lee Jong Doo were on the South Korea 1984 Olympic baseball team that played at Dodger Stadium. "Baseball is rapidly growing throughout the world," said Dodger President Peter O'Malley, "and this exchange between our two countries will help enhance the development of the game in Korea." 4

February 28, 1985

Sandy Koufax was pitching batting practice to Dodger players during Spring Training workouts.   Koufax claimed he was wild because he could not get his breaking ball over for strikes.   Koufax said the fault lay elsewhere. "I can't break into the rotation," said Koufax. He (Tom Lasorda) won't let me pitch more than once every 12 months," as Koufax pointed to Lasorda, meaning Sandy only threw batting practice in Spring Training. 5

March 5, 1985

The Vero Beach Press Journal newspaper features the dedication and work ethic of the Samsung Lions baseball team as they conduct pre-season training at Dodgertown. Longtime Dodger pitching coach Red Adams, assigned to the Samsung Lion players, said, "They are highly dedicated. They work hard and long." Adams stated the strongest part of the team is the Samsung pitching. "They're well-coordinated and they have good balance. For only being in their fourth year of professional baseball, they're very polished-looking. They're obviously doing something right" said Adams. Samsung Manager Kim Young Duck said of the opportunity to train in Dodgertown was beneficial. "The main purpose we are here is to bring the level of baseball up (in South Korea). The Samsung Lions worked late enough in the day to require stadium lights to be turned on as Lion players hit baseballs off tees into nets. Dodger infield instructor Chico Fernandez and Dodger hitting instructor Leo Posada worked with the Lion players on their particular skills the same way they do with young Dodger minor league players. 6

March 9, 1985

The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Samsung Lions baseball team from South Korea, 7-0, in the first Spring Training game ever played by a South Korea team against a major league team. Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, General Jyong Chul Suh, the first Commissioner of Baseball in Korea, and former Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn attended the game. 7   Commissioners Ueberroth and Jyong formed a two Commissioner first ball ceremony during pre-game ceremonies. 8

March 12, 1985

Peter O'Malley presents individual Louisville Slugger bats to General Jyong Chul Suh, the Commissioner of Baseball in South Korea, and the entire Samsung Lions baseball team to commemorate their Spring Training visit to Dodgertown. 9

March 19, 1985

Korean Baseball Commissioner Jyong Chul Suh writes to Peter O'Malley to express his appreciation for the Dodgers' invitation to the Samsung Lions to train in Dodgertown, a historic first for a Korean professional team. "It was my pleasure to meet you again in Dodger Town and many thanks to you for your kindness. The first exhibition game between the Dodgers and Lions will be remembered forever in baseball history….I have to say many thanks to you and your staffs for your kindness which were given to Lions players…..I wish we'll meet again in Seoul in the near future. Again, many, many thanks to you. 10

March 23, 1985

Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda provided special commentary during the DodgerVision telecast of their exhibition game in Dodgertown against the Baltimore Orioles. DodgerVision was the team's cable television network to broadcast home games at Dodger Stadium. Lasorda sat with the DodgerVision broadcast team in the Holman Stadium television booth and discussed the Dodgers' upcoming 1985 season. Lasorda would make lineup changes during the game by speaking in a walkie-talkie connected to Dodger coach Monty Basgall on the team bench. 11

March 28, 1985

The CBS Morning News show did a feature on baseball writers covering their team in Spring Training and the production crew spent time in Dodgertown on the team beat writers. Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda was quoted as saying on the broadcast, "If I were a sportswriter, and I could be assigned to cover the Dodgers right here at Dodgertown, I'd call this place blue heaven on earth." 12

April 2, 1985

Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray features National League umpire Bruce Froemming. Murray writes the story Froemming was a minor league umpire assigned to Dodgertown in Vero Beach. Hall of Fame umpire Al Barlick offered Froemming a chance to umpire in a major league exhibition game at Dodgertown. Froemming responded he would be interested, but only if he could umpire at home plate in a game with two major league clubs. Barlick was not sure Froemming was ready to take on such a big assignment and told that to Dodger owner Walter O'Malley. O'Malley told Barlick, "You (Barlick) don't need the home plate experience. He (Froemming) does." Froemming did umpire home plate that day and had none other than the great slugger, Ted Williams, watching as the opposing manager. Williams would give Froemming a strong recommendation for his work that day and not long after, the umpire made his major league debut. 13   Froemming would later umpire 37 seasons in the major leagues, the longest term for any such person in baseball history, one season longer than Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem.

April 7, 1985

Sandy Koufax is the subject of a feature in the Hartford Courant newspaper where he discussed his role as a pitching instructor for the Dodgers in Spring Training and during the season. "I think teaching is fun and I enjoy it," said Koufax. "You learn when you teach. When you were a player, you knew or thought you knew what you had to do. But if you're going to teach, you have to be able to try to answer the question, 'Why?' As a result, I think you learn a little bit more because there has to be a reason." Koufax talked about throwing batting practice to Dodger players in Spring Training. "It's fun to be here. This is how I earned my living. It's fun working out again." First baseman Greg Brock, hitting off Koufax in batting practice, broke his bat on a Koufax pitch. Brock afterwards asked Koufax when the great pitcher was ready to cut loose (throw hard as he could), Koufax said, "There's no 'cut loose.' That's it. That's wide open. What you see is all there is." 14

August 22, 1985

Vero Beach Dodger Manager Stan Wasiak becomes the all-time winningest manager in minor league baseball history as the Vero Beach Dodgers defeat West Palm Beach, 11-2 at Holman Stadium in Dodgertown. The win was his 2,497th in his 37 seasons managing in the Dodger and White Sox organizations. After the game, his cap and the lineup card were sent to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.   Wasiak said after the game, "This is my finest hour." It was estimated in Sports Illustrated he had traveled more than a million miles on bus trips and Wasiak himself said his face had worn out three bodies. 15   For his accomplishment, he received telegrams from President Ronald Reagan and Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and he was interviewed on the "Today" show by Bryant Gumbel. 16   He was the Vero Beach Dodgers' first manager when Vero Beach entered the Florida State League in 1980. Wasiak retired from managing after the 1986 season and he became the minors' all-time leader in games managed (4,844), wins, (2,570), and losses (2,274).

October 8, 1985

Ken Gurnick of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner writes a story before the 1985 National League Championship Series of the inspiration provided by Dodger President Peter O'Malley in Dodgertown. The Dodgers were preparing to leave Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida on April 4th following their final exhibition game at Holman Stadium. Before the chartered flight took off for its return to Los Angeles, O'Malley spoke to Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda on the Vero Beach runway. O'Malley recalled, "I told him (Lasorda) to have fun this season. I guess what I was saying at the time was that it wasn't a win-or-else situation. I hoped he understood that. Sure you want to win. I felt if he did his best, if the players did their best, we'd be back in the race, we'll win." After the game when the Dodgers clinched the 1985 National League Western Division title, Lasorda called O'Malley. "He (Lasorda) called to say he wanted me to know they were having fun down there," said O'Malley. 17

1 ^ Gordon Edes, Los Angeles Times, February 25, 1985

2 ^ Gordon Edes, Los Angeles Times, February 25, 1985

3 ^ Gordon Edes, Los Angeles Times, February 26, 1985

4 ^ Los Angeles Dodger Press Release, February 27, 1985

5 ^ Gordon Edes, Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1985

6 ^ Tom Riggs, Vero Beach Press Journal, March 5, 1985

7 ^ Los Angeles Dodger Press Release, March 9, 1985

8 ^ Gordon Edes, Los Angeles Times, March 10, 1985

9 ^ Vero Beach Press Journal, March 13, 1985

10 ^ Jyong-Chul Suh Correspondence to Peter O'Malley, March 19, 1985

11 ^ Ken Gurnick, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 24, 1985

12 ^ Diane Shah, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 28, 1985

13 ^ Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1985

14 ^ Claire Smith, Hartford Courant, Los Angeles Times, April 7, 1985

15 ^ Ivan Maisel, Sports Illustrated, August 26, 1985

16 ^ Vero Beach Dodgers, 1986 Yearbook

17 ^ Ken Gurnick, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, October 8, 1985

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