Friday, March 5, 2010

My Youthful Love Affair With An Entire Professional Sports Team

When the Dodgers played their first game in LA in April of 1958, I'm pretty sure my Dad was in a seat at the Coliseum and I know I planted my own little butt there a time or two before they moved to Dodger Stadium in 1960.  As a matter of fact, I was there on the Grand Opening Day and still have the ticket to prove it!
I don't know what tickets go for these days but I'll bet the price of a Loge Box is a tad more than $3.50.

I became a HUGE Dodgers fan due in no small part to my Dad's love of the game.  We would actually sit next to the radio, listening to the play by play from the great Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett, and Dad would have a baseball diamond diagram on a piece of paper and proceed to mark every single hit, strike, ball, base hit, home run, etc. with lines, arrows, and little "tic" marks.  I don't know what he did with them after the game was over or even WHY he did it.  He's still a big baseball fan although he forsook the Dodgers long ago for the Atlanta Braves (maybe because they're both from Milwaukee, WI).

When Dad took me to a game, we'd usually wind up at Julie's Restaurant/Lounge afterwards, where I'd have a cheeseburger and Dad would do a little cocktailing.  I saved a placemat and dated it--Wed. August 24, 1960: 

Of course, it's a rare day in LA when you can't eat outside, and Julie's had a great patio with a pool!

Here's me and a friend of Dad's having an after-game snack on Julie's patio:
And yup, there's the pool.  I guess at night the grown-ups would get drunk on martinis, form a conga line around the pool and then jump in.  It's not so ridiculous to have a pool at a restaurant in LA--as a matter of fact, the church we belonged to in Van Nuys had a pool, too.  That's where I learned to swim, and how many kids can say they learned how to swim at church???

If you're wondering why I happened to save this particular placemat on that particular day, it's because THIS is written on the back:
(Wallace Wade Moon, LA Dodger outfielder 1959-1965)
Back in the old days, unless you were a total superstar like Joe DiMaggio, professional athletes hung out with the mainstream rabble quite a bit, and I guess ole Dodger Wally just felt like a burger and a beer after the game.  Of course when I saw him walk into Julie's I nearly wet my pants and begged Dad to get an autograph.  Wally was quite gracious about it.
I have a complete set of these "signed" team photographs in a scrapbook, along with the following original VintageChristine "Ode To The Dodgers":

I will always love the Dodgers,
Wherever I may be.
I will always love the Dodgers,
On land
Or air
Or sea.

(This may be one of the reasons why my dream of becoming a professional poet never came to fruition . . .)

I also saved a 5-part series of drawings of the 1959 Dodgers--in that year, they were in the process of beating everyone's pants off and eventually went on to the World Series with the White Sox and GUESS WHO WON?!  Which means that my Wally Moon autograph was signed by a man who'd just assisted in winning the highest prize in baseball.  How cool is THAT?

These drawings appeared in 1959 in the LA Examiner, a morning paper that merged with the afternoon Herald Express in 1962.  The Examiner had been founded by William Randolph Hearst in 1903 as a union-friendly alternative to the LA Times.  In 1947, the Examiner broke the Black Dahlia story about the dismemberment murder of 22-year old Elizabeth Short--a movie called The Black Dahlia came out in 2006 starring Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart but it was more about their love triangle with Scarlett Johansson than it was about Elizabeth Short's murder (Elizabeth was played by Mia Kirshner).  The LA Times started grabbing the Herald Examiner's audience and the paper finally ceased operations in 1989.

Finally, here are some interesting ads from the back of the newspaper drawing.  Wonder if the gals are still twirling their pasties at the Pink Pussycat . . .
And check out who was quarterbacking for the SF 49ers back in 1959.  Yelberton Abraham Tittle (better known as Y.A., for obvious reasons).  While he played for the 49ers for 10 years, it was his subsequent shorter career with the NY Giants that gained him more fame.   Just a little sidenote here since I  noticed his name on the 49er roster . . .

Well, all this writing and research and running down Memory Lane has done got me wore out.  I think I needs me a THRIFTY FIX, so I'll see y'all later.  Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Wow Christine, what a step back in time!! I lived in LA for 10 years, and I miss the Dodgers! All that LA history in one blog - I want your life, mine pales in comparison.

  2. I loved reading about your memories, and seeing everything you carefully saved for all of these years. Great post!

  3. Wow Christine! What wonderful memories, thank you for sharing! I think its cool famous peopel used to hang out in regular places. My Grandpa delivered a telegram to Guy Lumbardo in 1937 (I think) and grandpa still has the 50 cent piece that he was tipped.

  4. I love the menu, the illustrations are great and what a bonus getting it signed. How cool!

  5. Once again, my dear, we are on a similar wave-length! I just posted a story about my dad and his favorite football team (sort of). I think it's so cool that you have all of this memorabilia and you know where it is! I'm sure I have thrown most of mine away. You are just a wealth of knowledge!