Photos by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Dedeaux Field 1021 Childs Way Los Angeles, CA 90089
Year Opened: 1974 Capacity: 2,500
A Field of Conquests
Named after the legendary Trojan skipper Rod Dedeaux, Dedeaux Field opened its gates in 1974 in grand fashion, as Russ McQueen would throw a no-hitter in the first game ever played there, en route to their 5th consecutive National Championship.
Though the USC football program is more recognized on a national scale, it is actually the baseball team that has achieved the most conquests in relation to its peers with 12 College World Series titles to its name. Though the stadium is approaching the end of its fourth decade, visiting fans would never guess it as numerous renovations over the years have kept the venue looking as one of the best in all of college baseball.
Food & Beverage 3
The main food stand is just inside the gates located in a mobile unit. The options are pretty standard for a collegiate baseball venue as the menu offers fans chicken tenders ($6), pulled pork sandwich ($5.50), nachos and cheeseburgers ($5), all beef hot dog/chili cheese dog ($5/$6). If you have a sweet tooth, a Krispy Kreme Sandwich, with the option of pulled pork, burger, or chicken tender in between a glazed KK donut, is available for $6.
A separate stand in front of the statue honoring Rod Dedeaux next to the ramps leading to the grandstands serves up caramel kettle corn along with other varied flavors. The kettle corn is sold in small ($3), medium ($5), large ($8), and extra-large ($10). If only feed yourself, the small size will more than satisfy. The beverage options included bottled water, bottled soda, Powerade, Vitamin Water, coffee, hot cocoa, or Minute Maid frozen lemonade, all for $4 each.
A snack stand by Prior Plaza along the first base concourse sells roasted peanuts ($5), assorted candy ($4), and Lay’s variety chips ($2). Hot dogs are also available. If you desire an adult beverage, your options are Coors ($5) and Trojan IPA ($6).
As you make your way inside the wrought iron gates of Dedeaux Field you will be strolling along Mark McGwire Way through a palm tree-lined walkway. More than likely it will be on a nice warm sunny day, adding to the Southern California atmosphere. As you approach the ramps leading to the stands, you will notice a couple of tributes to the legendary USC manager Rod Dedeaux.
To your left, you will see a large baseball with a plaque in his honor. On the plaque is the quote “Voted the Collegiate Baseball Coach of the 20th Century by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. Well Done Tiger.”
Located between the two ramps behind the kettle corn stand is a grand statue of the former USC Manager Rod Dedeaux atop a platform with his trademark saying, “Hi Tigers.”
The statue honoring the former Trojan skipper was dedicated in 2014 in his honor, one day shy of what would have been his 100th birthday. The former skipper of Troy, Dedeaux managed USC for 45 seasons (1942-86), winning an unprecedented 11 national titles as well as producing numerous Major Leaguers.
The tributes to Troy don’t stop there. As you descend upon the main concourse behind the stands, along the first base side is Prior Plaza, in honor of the former Chicago Cub pitcher. Along the plaza, a wall pays tributes to Trojan All-Americans as well as those who played in the bigs.
Also behind the first base stands is the Hall of Fame Complex, a must-visit for any baseball fan. The HOF Complex features a wide variety of tributes to former Trojan ballplayers, ranging from their national title trophies as well as uniforms from both their days donning the Cardinal and Gold to their time in the bigs to a timeline displaying their proud history. You will not want to miss this, especially if this is your first visit.
The stadium sits on the USC campus, allowing quick access to all of Los Angeles. If visiting fans have the opportunity, I would highly recommend checking out the nearby Exposition Park before or after the game. The 160-acre area includes the Coliseum itself, but so much more: the Memorial Sports Arena, Natural History Museum, California Science Center, Exposition Park Rose Garden, California African American Museum, and the Expo Center among others.
You’ll need a day or more to view all of this as each of them could take several hours to view. If you’re limited on time, you may want to visit the California Science Center, home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
Catering to college students, the surrounding area has all sorts of fast food, including Togo’s Subs, Subway, Taco Bell, Denny’s, and Wendy’s all less than a mile away from Dedeaux Field.
Not far from Dedeaux Field is the Figueroa Corridor. The Figueroa Corridor has brought new life along that particular stretch of Figueroa Street, lined with townhouses and various eateries, including the Lab Gastropub, located next door to the Galen Center. The area around USC continues its resurgence as more mixed-use development continues in what will be known as USC Village.
For a storied program, like their men’s basketball counterparts across town in Westwood, expectations run very high among the Trojan Faithful. Perhaps a surprising 10-year hiatus from NCAA Tournament play has something to do with the sparse crowd I experienced in 2016. With the Men of Troy recently returning to post-season play in 2015, a return to glory may not be far.
With the campus being located in downtown Los Angeles, there is a multitude of ways to get to the stadium. If fans can dodge the traffic, they can get to the venue via the 5, 10, 110, or 405 freeways. Fans can also easily get to the game via the Metro Expo Line as well as several MTA transit bus options. If driving to the venue, game day parking runs at $12 per vehicle near the field through gate 6 off Vermont and 36th Street.
Return on Investment 5
Trojan baseball is a great bargain. For a mere $7 for adults and $5 for seniors 60 and over as well as non-USC students. Children 12 and under gain free admittance, a generous deal for those wanting to bring their kids out for an afternoon under the sun. If you happen to be a family of four, with two under 12, it is possible to enjoy a game for a total of $14, something one would be lucky to pay for a single admission to an MLB game.
The extras are another category where USC excels. First-time visitors should ensure that they arrive early so that they can take all of the extras in.
Most important is the Herbert V. Nootbaar Baseball Office and Hall of Fame Complex. Inside this building located down the first base line, fans will find the Major League jerseys of many of the former Trojan players. Beautiful pieces of art that feature pitchers such as Randy Johnson and batters such as Aaron Boone hang from the wall.
A timeline of notable events in USC baseball and its alumni surrounds the room at the top of the wall. The many NCAA championship trophies and individual player awards are displayed prominently in display cases. There are even stacks of Baseball America magazines that feature Trojan players on a coffee table surrounded by nice leather couches.
Also on the first base side is Prior Plaza, which was established by former Chicago Cubs pitcher Mark Prior. This monument recognizes past USC players who have been either All-Americans or appeared in the major leagues. Obviously, with all of USC’s success, there is quite the list of players noted here.
Along the outfield wall in left field, more Trojan glory is on display, listing the years of their 12 National Championships as well as their 21 College World Series appearances. I was rather surprised to see the World Series years on display, particularly the years in which the Men of Troy did not win the grand prize. Storied franchises such as this one usually only boast championship glory.
In the right field corner by the foul pole is Sparky’s Corner, featuring a banner honoring Sparky Anderson, the former Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds skipper who was a bat boy for the 1948 USC National Championship team. It is believed that Sparky once lived in a home behind where the current right field pole stands and was offered the job as a bat boy after returning a foul ball to Rod Dedeaux.
After a 10-year absence from NCAA tournament play, it appears the storied program is heading back toward its place in glory. Any baseball fan will certainly want to add a trip to Dedeaux Field to their baseball bucket list. If visiting for the first time, you will want to arrive early to take in not only the history surrounding Dedeaux Field but take a stroll along the nearby Bloom Hall of Fame Walk. The HOF Walk has numerous plaques on display honoring many notable Trojan athletes, including Fred Lynn, Mark McGwire, Randy Johnson, and Mark Prior.
Dedeaux Field is only minutes away from downtown L.A., making it possible to not only take in some Trojan Baseball, but an event that could be taking place in nearby Staples Center, or even a baseball doubleheader with Dodger Stadium being a short drive up the 110 Freeway north. Whatever your baseball itinerary, you owe it to yourself to take in a game at Dedeaux Field
If you have any other questions regarding Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, or other venues throughout Southern California, then feel free to shoot me an email at Andrei.Ojeda@wp4.temp.domains. You can also follow me @good_drei on Twitter and Instagram.