A story about baseball, family, the American Dream, and the fight to turn Los Angeles into a big league city.
This is a Virtual Event! Click here to register for this Livestream Event!
Dodger Stadium is an American icon. But the story of how it came to be goes far beyond baseball. The hills that cradle the stadium were once home to three vibrant Mexican American communities. In the early 1950s, those communities were condemned to make way for a utopian public housing project. Then, in a remarkable turn, public housing in the city was defeated amidst a Red Scare conspiracy.
Instead of getting their homes back, the remaining residents saw the city sell their land to Walter O'Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Now LA would be getting a different sort of utopian fantasy -- a glittering, ultra-modern stadium.
But before Dodger Stadium could be built, the city would have to face down the neighborhood's families -- including one, the Aréchigas, who refused to yield their home. The ensuing confrontation captivated the nation - and the divisive outcome still echoes through Los Angeles today.
Eric Nusbaum is a former sports editor at VICE. In addition to VICE, his work on sports, history, and culture has appeared in ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Outside, The Daily Beast, Deadspin, and the Best American Sports Writing anthology. Eric was born and raised in L.A. He has spent many hours both attending games at Dodger Stadium, and sitting in traffic to reach those games. He has also lived and worked in Seattle and Mexico City.
Howard Bryant is the author of Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research’s 2003 Seymour Medal, and Juicing the Game: Drugs, Power, and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball. He is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine; appears regularly on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters, ESPN First Take, and Outside the Lines; and serves as sports correspondent for NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. He lives in western Massachusetts.