Jan. 1, 2017 marked
the fifth anniversary of Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida under the leadership of Chairman Peter O’Malley, the former president of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1970-1998. The O’Malley family has been active in developing, expanding, maintaining and modernizing the now 80-acre property since it first opened in 1948.
After the Dodgers’ final Spring Training in 2008, when the team moved to Arizona, Dodgertown was owned by Indian River County and the County shuttered it until their plans for the future were crystallized. Minor League Baseball reactivated Dodgertown as a multi-sport camp the next year, naming it Vero Beach Sports Village. Due to heavy financial losses, MiLB decided to terminate its lease and the site was about to be shuttered a second time. O’Malley and his sister, Terry O’Malley Seidler, along with former major league pitching stars Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo, stepped in to preserve its iconic stature.
Since Jan, 1, 2012, O’Malley and his founding partners became responsible for reenergizing the unique, year-round multi-sport training and conference center. More than 18,000 hotel rooms countywide are annually booked just from overflow business from Historic Dodgertown. In excess of 1,000 youth and adult sports teams train and participate in tournaments each year.
*Aug. 29, 2013, through a licensing agreement with the Dodgers and Major League Baseball, O’Malley changed the name to Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida.
*The professional SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization have been training annually at Historic Dodgertown since Jan. 2012, with another visit upcoming Feb. 1-23. The Wyverns are from Incheon, South Korea and have won three Korean Series championships.
* The inaugural Jackie Robinson Celebration Game was held April 15, 2014, as a regular season Florida State League game at iconic Holman Stadium and has been played every Apr. 15 since. To date, net proceeds of more than $50,000 from the games benefitted the United Way of Indian River County. Plans are being made now to continue the game on Apr. 15, 2017, 70 years after Robinson debuted for the Dodgers, become the first African American in Major League Baseball.
*Nov. 10, 2014, Historic Dodgertown was designated as a “Florida Heritage Landmark” with a Florida Historical Marker. The “Baseball and Dodgertown” marker, sponsored by the Indian River County Historical Society, is located near the main entrance.
*Three Canadian Football League teams – the Edmonton Eskimos, Montreal Alouettes and Saskatchewan Roughriders – have held mini-training camps multiple times at Historic Dodgertown. Plans are underway for teams to return in Apr. 2017.
*Starting Jan. 8, 2017, the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy will hold its prestigious training program on site for the sixth consecutive year. The last step in the process is for top graduates of the Training Academy to attend a separate evaluation camp at Historic Dodgertown, which can launch their professional umpiring career. Aspiring umpires must pass through Historic Dodgertown to become professionals.
*July 28, 2015, Rob D. Manfred, Jr. became the ninth Commissioner of Baseball to visit the site, as he met with youth campers and instructors, comprised of many former major leaguers, at the first-ever Elite Development Invitational, operated by USA Baseball and initiated by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. The two-week camp at Historic Dodgertown, with 160 youth, ages 13-16, is designed to provide player development opportunities to top prospects from minority or underserved communities throughout the country. In July 2016, Commissioner Manfred returned to Historic Dodgertown to speak with the campers at the second MLB Elite Development Invitational. Plans are being made for Historic Dodgertown to host the MLB EDI once again in July and August, 2017.
*Teams from Canada, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea and Uruguay have utilized Historic Dodgertown’s state-of-the-art training facilities and 10 1/2 fields. On Apr. 12, 2014, four sports were going on simultaneously, including football, softball, baseball and soccer.
*The Florida High School Softball State Championships have utilized Historic Dodgertown’s facilities since 2013 and have a new agreement starting this year. The Florida Junior College State Softball Championship will be held for the third year this spring, playing on the attractive cloverleaf fields. In May 2015, Historic Dodgertown signed a three-year agreement as the official Southern Home of Softball Factory.
*The sports special documentary “Welcome to Dodgertown” won an L.A. Emmy Award last July. Also, color footage from Historic Dodgertown in 1951 was shown on the Jackie Robinson documentary on PBS, produced by Ken Burns last spring.
*Sept. 17, 2015, Historic Dodgertown was named “Large Company of the Year” by the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on Historic Dodgertown, please visit www.HistoricDodgertown.com.