A longtime piece of Dodgers lore retained at least part of its history on Thursday, as the Vero Beach Sports Village, the spring training home of the franchise for 61 years, was renamed "Historic Dodgertown - Vero Beach, Florida."
The site was named Dodgertown for years when the Dodgers held their spring training there but lost the name when the Dodgers moved their spring home to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. in 2008. The site in Vero Beach was unable to use the name Dodgertown after the move, but former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley signed a licensing agreement that allows his partnership to use the name in cooperation with the Dodgers and Major League Baseball.
"We appreciate the extraordinary cooperation of Dodger President Stan Kasten and the Dodger organization in recognizing the significance of this unique site," O’Malley said in a statement. "We also are grateful to Major League Baseball for working with us, perpetuating the history and tradition of Historic Dodgertown and what it has meant to the game for decades."
O'Malley in November 2011 partnered with his sister Terry Seidler, former Dodgers Hideo Nomo and Chan Ho Park, and Minor League Baseball, to run the Vero Beach site, spring home of the Dodgers from 1948-2008, now used for baseball tournaments, schools camps for both players and umpires, shows, concerts and special events.
O'Malley in June 2012 signed a lease extension with Indian River County through April 2019.
The 79-acre site in Vero Beach was first called "Dodger Town" by the Vero Beach Press Journal on January 25, 1948, then the two-word title was shortened to one in a Sporting News headline "Dodgertown Dedicated in Florida Welcome" on March 31, 1948.
"Dodgertown is a very, very special place. Just hearing the word `Dodgertown’ brings back a lot of great memories," Manny Mota once said. "I cherish the time I got to spend there with Walter O’Malley and the entire O’Malley family. I have great respect and admiration for the O’Malley family. A few years ago I asked my wife where she wanted to go on vacation and she said `Dodgertown."