(East Los Angeles, CA)[From The Editor’s Desk]: The memorable, magical, and historical, timeframe is now finalized and has been merged under the Team’s ownership and management to give Dodger Fans and Dodgers Nation the public announcement that El Número, #34, sewn and stitched on the fabled and unforgettable baseball uniform worn by the legendary Dodger himself, Fernando Valenzuela, will officially be retired in August during “Fernandomania Weekend” August 11th through the 13th.
While we are on the topic of celebration of his #34 jersey retirement, there still exists a very large consensus of Fernando’s permanent fan-base that is continuing to explore another nomination for his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
But first things first, what a great moment it will be on Friday August 11th to look up and see his #34 jersey finally, and permanently displayed in Dodger Stadium, the origin of, and forever home of “Fernandomania.” In baseball’s modern era, it still remains the unequaled feat for a major league player to first, give cause for the creation of his own loving fan movement, and second, in a very short time thereafter, to have it named after him. ¡Viva Fernando Valenzuela y Su Número 34!
Those special weekend single-game tickets for Fernandomania Weekend are now on sale, so make sure you get your ticket orders completed as soon as possible, as the odds are great for a weekend sell-out.
During their recent Dodgers Fan Fest held at the Stadium on Saturday, 2/4, the team’s Media Relations Department released this announcement and the courtesy video of the event for all of Dodgers Nation to be aware of, and then wait patiently and happily for the official celebratory event(s) to take place at Dodger Stadium. Congrats Fernando!! and Thank You Dodgers!! / !!Felicitaciones Al Número 34, Fernando Valenzuela!! y !!Mil Gracias a Los Dodgers!!
DODGERS TO RETIRE FERNANDO VALENZUELA’S NUMBER 34
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers recently announced that one of the most enduring and popular players in Dodger history, left-handed pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, will have his number “34” retired this summer during a special three-day celebration. The announcement was made during the Dodgers’ 2023 FanFest, presented by Budweiser.
“Fernandomania” weekend will take place August 11-13 when the Dodgers host the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. The festivities will kick off with the Ring of Honor ceremony on Friday Night, a collector’s edition bobblehead on Saturday night and a replica Valenzuela 1981 World Series ring on Sunday. There will be many other fun and exciting elements planned for the entire weekend which will be announced in the coming weeks.
Valenzuela was a member of two World Series championship teams, won the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards, was selected to six All-Star teams and even won two Silver Slugger Awards (1981, 1983) during his 11 years with the Dodgers from 1980-90.
“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” said Fernando Valenzuela. “But also for the fans — the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them. I’m happy for all the fans and all the people who have followed my career. They’re going to be very excited to know that my No. 34 is being retired.”
Valenzuela’s number “34” will take its place among those previously displayed on the left field club level—Pee Wee Reese (#1), Tommy Lasorda (#2), Duke Snider (#4), Gil Hodges (#14). Jim Gilliam (#19), Don Sutton (#20), Walter Alston (#24), Sandy Koufax (#32), Roy Campanella (#39), Jackie Robinson (#42), Don Drysdale (#53) and Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrín.
“I am incredibly happy that number 34 for the Los Angeles Dodgers will be retired forever,” said Stan Kasten, Dodger President & CEO. “The one question that I continuously get asked, more than anything else, is about retiring Fernando Valenzuela’s number. The citywide call by our fans to honor him is truly remarkable. What he accomplished during his playing career, not only on the field but in the community, is extraordinary. He truly lit up the imaginations of baseball fans everywhere. It’s hard to envision a player having a greater impact on a fan base then the one Fernando has had.”
Valenzuela’s remarkable career placed him among the all-time L.A. Dodger leaders in wins (141, 6th), strikeouts (1,759, 5th), innings (2348.2, 4th), starts (320, 4th), complete games (107, 4th) and shutouts (29, 5th). He is best remembered for bursting onto the scene with a shutout of the Astros on Opening Day 1981. That unexpected outing was made possible when an injured Jerry Reuss couldn’t answer the bell and began a run of eight consecutive victories, including five shutouts and a streak of 35 straight scoreless innings. This immediately gave rise to the phenomenon known as “Fernandomania,” in which fans would flock to his starts, both at home and on the road. The Mexican left-hander almost single-handedly changed the Dodger fan base in this timeframe and in the coming years, and he would go on to claim the NL Rookie of the Year, Cy Young Award and a World Championship in his first full season. He is the only Major Leaguer to ever win the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award in the same season.
“El Toro” was celebrated for his unorthodox pitching delivery as well as his signature pitch, the screwball, taught to him by friend and teammate Bobby Castillo in 1979. He would win a career high 21 games in 1986 and throw a no-hitter vs. the Cardinals on June 29, 1990, in which Vin Scully exclaimed after the final out: “If you have a sombrero, throw it to the sky!”
Valenzuela retired in 1997 after 17 big league seasons as the all-time leader in wins (173) and strikeouts (2,074) among Mexican-born Major Leaguers. Following his playing career, Valenzuela rejoined the Dodger organization as a broadcaster in 2003 alongside Jarrín, who first go to know his old broadcasting partner while translating for Valenzuela during the height of “Fernandomania” in 1981.
“He created more baseball fans, and Dodger fans, than any other player,” said Jarrín, who called Dodger games from 1959-2022. “Thanks to this kid, people fell in love with baseball. Especially within the Mexican community.”
In 2010, Valenzuela was the subject of an “ESPN 30 for 30 documentary,” directed by Mexican native and Los Angeles-raised Cruz Angeles, who said this on the eve of the film’s debut: “For my generation, I’m talking Generation X, the children of Mexican immigrants that grew up in Southern California in the 1980s, he’s not a myth, he was a hero. He was the Mexican who made it and was destroying all of the competition. All fathers wanted their sons to be the next Fernando Valenzuela, and all of us kids would imitate his delivery, looking up to the sky, hands up in the air high and everything. He was one of us, and we wanted to be like him.”
A native of Etchohuaquila, Sonora, Mexico, Valenzuela has been active in both the Los Angeles and Mexican communities during his post-playing career. He was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame on August 23, 2003, in a pregame on the field ceremony at Dodger Stadium, and in 2013 he was enshrined into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame. More recently, the Mexican Baseball League retired his No. 34 in 2019. Valenzuela has served as a player, coach and general manager for Team Mexico in several international competitions, including the World Baseball Classic.
He was inducted into the “Legends of Dodger Baseball” in 2019 and became a naturalized citizen of the Unites States in 2015. Last year, he was honored with the “Outstanding Americans by Choice” recognition from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Service.
Valenzuela is married to Linda Valenzuela and lives in Los Angeles. He is very proud of his two sons, two daughters, and seven grandchildren.