Baseball fans rejoice! The Los Angeles Dodgers have finally done the right thing and announced the retirement of Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34. After years of fan requests and a long-awaited decision, the Dodgers have honored their most impactful player in Los Angeles franchise history.
Fernando Valenzuela’s career was not only a success on the field, but off it as well. In 1981, the 20-year-old from Etchohuaquila, Sonora, Mexico became the only player to win the Cy Young and rookie of the year awards in the same year, an unprecedented feat. Valenzuela’s success brought the Dodgers into formerly ignored immigrant communities, and then brought those communities into Chavez Ravine. His impact was so great, it is said that the Dodgers’ fan base is largely Latino, a result of growth that began with Valenzuela.
Valenzuela’s number retirement celebration will last an entire weekend, from Aug. 11-13, during a series against the Colorado Rockies. His No. 34 will be unveiled on the stadium wall above left field, and he will be shown on the videoboard throughout the weekend as he works his job with the Dodgers’ Spanish-language broadcast team.
The love for Valenzuela is so great, it is hard to imagine a player with a greater impact anywhere. His career record of 173-153 with a 3.54 ERA may be deemed average, but his contributions to the Dodger franchise have been unmatched in baseball history. His number retirement is a testament to his enduring charm, and a reminder of the magic he brought to the game.
Valenzuela brought the Dodgers into formerly ignored immigrant communities, and then brought those communities into Chavez Ravine. His impact is undeniable, and his No. 34 will live forever with the Dodgers. It is a fitting honor for arguably the most impactful Dodger in Los Angeles franchise history.