More Wrigley memories; more Wrigley Little League help

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Herald-Examiner archives/Los Angeles Public Library
Exterior shot of Wrigley Field on Dec., 1960, after it is suggested the new Los Angeles Angels of the American League use it as their home for their first season in 1961. It had a capacity of 22,500. “It’s in good condition,” said officials.

A longer version of the column about what’s happened to the property in South L.A. that once housed Wrigley Field in today’s newspaper (linked here) appeared earlier this week (linked here). Somewhat unexpected, but then, considering the big hearts from many readers it should not be, many have asked about where to send donations to help the Wrigley Little League make it through this season in tough economic times.

Wrigley Little League president Mike Garcia will accept donations to the league that are sent to his State Farm insurance office in care of him: 4421 Riverside Drive, Suite 100, Burbank CA 91505.

Meanwhile, a search of the Internet and other resources have turned up some more memories of the old Wrigley Field, which 40 years ago was finally demolished to make way for Gilbert Lindsay Park and, what now sits in the former left field of the L.A. ballpark, the Wrigley Little League:

== Starting with a collection of photos from the former Herald-Examiner that are part of the Los Angeles Public Library collection:

- An aerial view of the neighborhood near 42nd Street and Avalon Boulevard as it appeared before Wrigley Field was constructed in 1925. Photograph dated October 1924:

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– And, from Opening Day, 1925 (a photo later handcolored for post cards, as displayed in a previous blog posting linked here calling it the “newest and finest in the United States”:

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– In 1957, Walter O’Malley traded his farm team, the Fort Worth Cats, and cash in exchange for the Los Angeles Angels and Wrigley Field, a deal that gave O’Malley territorial rights to L.A., and plans for a new Dodger Stadium somewhere… perhaps at Wrigley Field:

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Many fans assumed that he would move the Dodgers to Wrigley Field and architects drew up plans to boost seating capacity at the aged stadium.

O’Malley decided to begin play in the renovated Coliseum. An artist rendition (above) of what Wrigley Field could have looked like in the early ’60s would have wiped out a block or so of homes beyond left field to make room for more parking.

More homes would have been cleared off San Pedro street. Avalon Blvd., beyond right field, would have been widened considerably.

Another level would have been added to the roof, left field would have bleachers and it would have been fully enclosed.

Instead, O’Malley traded the land with the city of L.A. for the spot in Chavez Ravine, and the current version of Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. And the Wrigley Field site basically wasn’t needed much for major sporting events any longer.

- The Los Angeles Angels’ Steve Bilko, a local legend, comes home after hitting the second of three home runs in a game in 1956:

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– Soldiers of 1942 learn about the Wrigley Field Memorial Tower, erected to soldiers of “The Great War” (World War I), from Angels president Clarence Rowland. Games in the Pacific Coast League in that time were used to raise money for the Army-Navy baseball equipment fund. The Angels and Sacramento met at Wrigley Field that night. Shown above, left to right, are: Carl Moore, Dean Patterson, Corporal Charles Greenwald, Rowland, Gordon Ogilvie and Ted Parker:

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– It’s opening day of the Pacific Coast League — April 6, 1937 — with the Los Angeles Angels facing the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field.

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– The first night game in Los Angeles, at Wrigley Field, on July 22, 1930. Chicago’s Wrigley Field wouldn’t get lights until 1988:

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Henry Armstrong, right, fights Baby Arizmendi to win the world’s featherweight crown on Aug. 5, 1936 at Wrigley Field. According to the caption in the Herald-Examiner: “Armstrong won decisively after badly battering the Mexican champion. Depite his superiority, Armstrong was unable to put the Baby down for the long count of 10. Arizmendi holds two previous decisions over Armstrong, but the Negro boy reversed the award in no uncertain terms last night.”

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- A series of photos show Sugar Ray Robinson fighting Carl “Bobo” Olson for the middleweight title on May 18, 1956. According to reports in the paper from Edna Mae Robinson: “The fight was held in broad daylight in Los Angeles at Wrigley Field and the crowd was loud and enormous (20,000 spectators) Both boxers were very cautious at the beginning. Olson constantly clinched with Ray, more like a wrestler than a fighter. We wondered why Referee Mushy Callahan didn’t break them apart and caution them to move and fight. Sugar had said that he had observed previously that Olson would drop his right arm when he delivered a good punch with his right hand. In two minutes and fifty-one seconds of the fourth round Olson did just that, and faster than lightning, Sugar delivered a punch with his left hand to Olson’s right jaw that must have made him see stars as he sagged to the canvas like a bag of cement. The roar of the crowd was music to my ears.”:

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– From a 1963 “Freedom Rally” where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. appeared before 35,000. A story a couple of weeks later in the Herald Examiner read: “Two weeks ago when Los Angeles Negroes massed at Wrigley Field, the signal was sounded for equal rights fight.”

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– In an undated photo, likely from the 1960s, the Westminster Neighborhood Association Wildcats prepare for a game on the Wrigley Field site:

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== More post cards of Wrigley Field from various sources:

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