LA City Council Declares August 11th as `Fernando Valenzuela Day’

LA City Council Declares August 11th as `Fernando Valenzuela Day’

The Los Angeles City Council has officially declared August 11, 2023, as “Fernando Valenzuela Day” as a tribute to the iconic pitcher and the retirement of his No. 34 jersey by the Dodgers. The Council Chambers were filled with fans and city staff who gathered to honor Valenzuela and celebrate his remarkable career. Councilwoman Euinsses Hernandez led the presentation, expressing that the entire city of Los Angeles would be joining in the festivities to commemorate Fernando’s incredible legacy.

Donning a blue suit, the Dodgers’ signature color, Valenzuela approached the podium alongside Councilwoman Hernandez and delivered a brief speech in both English and Spanish. Grateful for the invitation, Valenzuela expressed his gratitude to the team for the opportunity to be a part of the beautiful city of Los Angeles. With brevity, he emphasized his love for the Dodgers, the fans, and the city he proudly calls home.

Councilwoman Hernandez shared further details about Valenzuela’s background, highlighting his journey from Sonora, Mexico, where he first discovered his passion for baseball. The Dodgers scouted him, and in 1979, Valenzuela officially joined the team. The following year, he made his major league debut as a relief pitcher and quickly rose to fame, becoming a household name.

In 1981, Valenzuela achieved a historic milestone by winning both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award in the same season, an achievement unmatched in Major League history. He also earned the distinction of being a six-time National League All-Star and pitched a no-hitter during his final season in 1990.

Councilwoman Hernandez acknowledged Valenzuela’s impact, stating that he became a global sensation and an inspiration to communities in Los Angeles and Mexico. She noted that Valenzuela’s presence transformed the Dodgers from a liked team to a truly beloved one, particularly within the Mexican community. His legacy opened doors and allowed fans to connect with the sport on a deeper level.

Councilwoman Imelda Padilla echoed Hernandez’s sentiments, thanking Valenzuela for bridging the gap between the Mexican community and Mexican-Americans, ultimately building a strong fan base that exists to this day.

Later in the evening, the Dodgers held a ceremony to retire Valenzuela’s No. 34 jersey. The event featured speeches from Senator Alex Padilla, retired Dodger broadcaster Jaime Jarrín, and Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten. The ceremony was televised by SportsNet LA before the game against the Colorado Rockies. As a tribute to Valenzuela’s career, a drone show was also organized.

The celebration of Valenzuela’s career continued throughout the weekend. The first 40,000 ticketed fans received a commemorative bobblehead showcasing Valenzuela’s achievements, and replicas of his 1981 World Series ring were distributed on Sunday.

Councilman John Lee expressed that the retirement of Valenzuela’s jersey was long overdue, acknowledging the invaluable contributions he made to the Dodgers and the lasting memories he created for all Angelenos. With cameras flashing and attendees cheering, the ceremony concluded with Councilwoman Hernandez reminding Valenzuela of the love that surrounds him.

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