Dodgers celebrate Fernando Valenzuela’s number retirement

Jaime Jarrín summed up the biggest news from Saturday’s Dodgers FanFest event in Chavez Ravine in just one sentence.

“That,” said the Dodgers’ recently resigned Spanish radio voiceover after the team announced it would retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 next season, “is a little overdue.”

Many fans of the club have felt the same way for years.

Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela pitches at Dodger Stadium.


Relive Fernandomania through The Times documentary series exploring star pitcher Fernando Valenzuela’s impact on the Dodgers, Major League Baseball and the Latino community in Los Angeles.

No, Valenzuela was not inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the traditional requirement for the Dodgers to retire a former player’s jersey.

But as the seasons wore on and the Mexican pitcher’s enduring legacy in the franchise and in the community never faded, it became increasingly difficult to justify the absence of Valenzuela’s number in Dodger Stadium’s left ring of honor.

Though the Dodgers hadn’t awarded the No. 34 to a player since Valenzuela’s retirement, Jarrín was among a growing contingent hoping it would officially retire.

Jarrín played all 11 of Valenzuela’s seasons with the Dodgers, including the legendary 1981 campaign in which the left-hander won National League Rookie of the Year and Cy Young honors while helping the team to a World Series title. He often served as Valenzuela’s interpreter at public appearances, including a 1981 White House luncheon with President Ronald Reagan.

After his playing career, Valenzuela joined Jarrín in the Dodgers radio booth and worked with him for two decades before Jarrín retired last year.

“I was hoping they would make it,” said Jarrín, who is now a club ambassador and wears his own plaque in the team’s ring of honor. “I don’t know why they waited. You could have done it a few years ago.”

Dodgers Spanish-language announcer Jaime Jarrín, left, speaks with former player and broadcast partner Fernando Valenzuela.

Dodgers’ Spanish-language announcer Jaime Jarrín, left, speaks with former player and broadcast partner Fernando Valenzuela before a game against the Colorado Rockies in October ahead of Jarrín’s retirement.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Now that it’s happening – the ceremony is set to take place ahead of a home game on August 11 this year – Jarrín couldn’t help but smile on Saturday.

“It’s fantastic,” Jarrín said. “He left the Dodgers [as a player] Almost 40 years ago and still today… people love him. It’s incredible.”

Jarrín was not alone.

Manager Dave Roberts celebrated the move during a conversation with reporters.

“Even before today,” Roberts said, “when you thought of the Dodgers and 34, you thought of Fernando.”

Current Dodgers stars, including pitcher Julio Urías, a Mexican left-hander, and infielder Max Muncy also welcomed the news.

“It makes us very proud to see that a compatriot can achieve this great success,” said Urías in Spanish.

Echoed Muncy: “When you start playing for the Dodgers, one of the first things you learn is the very impact that Fernando had.”

inner field clear; midfield unknown

Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux sets up a grounder and throws to first base.

Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux sets up a grounder and throws to first base during a game against the Kansas City Royals in August.

(Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press)

The Dodgers’ preferred infield alignment seems set.

Roberts confirmed the Dodgers plan to play Gavin Lux at shortstop, Muncy at third base and Miguel Vargas at second base early in the season, with Miguel Rojas likely to provide depth off the bench in all three positions (additional at a possible break-in time). left field).

At the start of this offseason, it appeared the Dodgers would take Muncy to second and Vargas to third, where the highly acclaimed rookie had spent most of his time in the minors.

However, the Dodgers settled on their new plan to keep Muncy in the hot corner, a position he took last year after Freddie Freeman’s arrival at first base, and allow Vargas to use more of his reach by he played in the middle.

The Dodgers’ plans in midfield, however, remain unclear.

Following Cody Bellinger’s off-season departure, Roberts told reporters, “Your boys’ guess is as good as mine at the moment” on who could take the place, with Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson, James Outman, Bradley Zimmer and Jason Heyward in the mix .

More WBC participants

The Dodgers’ representation at next month’s World Baseball Classic continues to grow.

Austin Barnes confirmed Saturday that he will play for Mexico; Roberts said Trayce Thompson is expected to play for Great Britain; and Rojas said he hopes to play for Venezuela as long as he is 100% fit by then after recent surgery on his right hand. Rojas has been cleared to begin a batting progression in the coming week.

These three join a long list of well-known Dodgers contenders: Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts and Will Smith for USA (in addition to third base coach Dino Ebel), Brusdar Graterol for Venezuela, Urías for Mexico and Freeman for Canada. Dodgers celebrate Fernando Valenzuela’s number retirement

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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