Newberry: Once on the verge of extinction, Dodgertown makes a comeback

From Paul Newberry at the Associated Press on March 10, 2016, with mention of SABR member Peter O’Malley:

The ghosts of Dodgertown are everywhere.

Along the narrow roads winding through the complex, named after Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and other Dodger greats. On the deck of the swimming pool, where the players relaxed and bonded once their work was done each day. At the tiny bridge they crossed for each spring training game, strolling right among the fans as they made their way from the clubhouse to Holman Stadium.

Now, a new generation is getting to discover this baseball gem.

“It’s like walking on hallowed ground,” said Reid Wilkinson, a senior at Norfolk Collegiate School in Virginia, a private high school which is training and playing games at Dodgertown this week.

The longtime spring training home of the Dodgers — starting in 1948 when they were still in Brooklyn, and continuing on after they moved to Los Angeles — was threatened with extinction after its namesake team moved its preseason operations to Arizona in 2008.

But, thanks largely to former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley, the sprawling complex located on a former World War II military base has made quite a comeback, serving as a training hub for hundreds of college and high school teams, as well as international squads and even the Canadian Football League.

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Originally published: March 11, 2016. Last Updated: March 11, 2016.