Mars: Beneath the ballpark: Dodger Stadium and Chavez Ravine

From Roman Mars at 99 Percent Invisible on February 19, 2019, with SABR members Jerald Podair and Mark Langill:

In the 1950s, Los Angeles was an up-and-coming city but wasn’t quite there yet. For decades, people had been moving to California for the climate, the jobs, and the cheap real estate. It was a city on the rise but something was still missing.

“When Americans were asked to talk about the major cities of the country in the 1950s,” explains Jerald Podair, author of City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles, “they would say New York … Chicago … Boston,” but few thought of L.A. as a big metropolitan player in the game.

Los Angeles didn’t have the rows of towering skyscrapers that made New York and Chicago unmistakable. Overall, Los Angeles felt more like a collection of neighborhoods than a cohesive city, too.

City leaders were looking for a way to boost Los Angeles’s profile as a world city and also give Angelenos something to rally behind. They believed that what L.A. really needed was a baseball team.

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Originally published: February 19, 2019. Last Updated: February 19, 2019.