The completion of Phase One of the $2.7 million Dodgers Dreamfields complex in Compton was unveiled Thursday, coinciding with the 74th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
The project at Gonzales Park features three fields with new playing surfaces, fencing, dugouts, irrigation upgrades, lighting, paint and scoreboards. It is the largest Dodgers Dreamfields project.
Field 42, named for the uniform number Robinson wore with the Dodgers, is designed for baseball and softball players ages 5 to 8. Rachel Robinson Field, named for Jackie Robinson’s wife, is designed for baseball players ages 9 to 12 and softball players 9 to 18.
Jackie Robinson Stadium was designed for baseball players 13 years old and older and college play. It includes new safety netting from Dodger Stadium and a refurbished grandstand area with new railings, foundation and walkways.
Kershaw’s Challenge Training and Fitness Zone, named for Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw’s charity, has two batting cages, two bullpens, a practice infield and outdoor fitness equipment.
In partnership with Science of Sport and Edison International, the Los Angeles Dodger Foundation’s Science of Baseball outdoor classroom will introduce the science, math and physics of baseball to everyone using the facility.
“As we celebrate the legacy of Jackie Robinson, Kershaw’s Challenge is proud to partner with LADF to restore Gonzales Park to its baseball glory and create a welcoming environment for all ages,” Kershaw said.
“What was once baseball heaven became a challenging place to play, making the sport inaccessible to kids in the neighborhood.”
Hall of Famers Eddie Murray, Ozzie Smith and Duke Snider all played at Gonzales Park in their youth as well as such future major leaguers Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Kenny Landreaux and Hubie Brooks.
The park is named for Ramon Gonzales, a Compton business owner who raised money to build ballfields.
The Dodgers Dreamfields program began in 2003 when the team was owned by the Fox Group. It continued when Frank McCourt owned the team from 2004-2012 and under the current ownership. The foundation has built or refurbished 54 Dodgers Dreamfields since 2003.
The foundation is the team’s official charity, supporting programs in sports and recreation, education and literacy, health and wellness benefiting children and families throughout the Los Angeles area.
Its programs are funded through private donations and various fundraising events. Team finances are not used.
The foundation has pledged to complete 75 fields by 2033, the 75th anniversary of the Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles.