Skirball exhibits rare pieces of Dodger history
By Cary Osborne
Among the artifacts that are currently on display in Los Angeles at the Skirball Cultural Center for the exhibit “Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American,” are pieces of Dodger history loaned by former Dodger president and owner Peter O’Malley.
The original Dodger Stadium model is one of those pieces. It was created by Academy Award-winning producer and director Mervyn LeRoy and model maker David Ernstein in 1960 and given as a gift to O’Malley’s father and former Dodger owner Walter O’Malley.
Four baseballs from each of Sandy Koufax’s no-hitters are also on display. They were also gifts to Walter O’Malley. Jerseys from Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo, Fernando Valenzuela’s warm-up jacket and Jackie Robinson’s 1947 Rookie of the Year plaque are also part of the Skirball exhibit, which runs until October 30.
All of the aforementioned Dodgers — Koufax, who is Jewish, Park, Nomo and Valenzuela who were born outside of the U.S. and Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier — represent the exhibit’s mission to illustrate America’s national pastime as a pathway for American Jews and other immigrant and minority communities.
“Chasing Dreams weaves together baseball history with stories of immigration and integration into American life,” said Skirball Museum director Robert Kirschner. “It illustrates what it is about the game that has resonated so deeply with diverse immigrants and minorities since the nineteenth century — whether on the field or in the stands — helping them to navigate American culture, connect to the nation’s collective values and traditions, and feel at home in American society. We hope that it will deepen our visitors’ appreciation of the role that baseball has played in furthering equality and social justice.”
Memorabilia from Joe DiMaggio, Roberto Clemente, Hank Greenberg and Ichiro Suzuki are also on display.