Blythe Hastings 2023
The Los Angeles Dodgers recently announced that legend Fernando Valenzuela will have his jersey number, 34, retired this season. Pitcher Valenzuela, who was nicknamed “El Toro” as he took the Dodgers by storm at 20 years old in 1981, was present at Dodger Stadium on Saturday during Dodgers Fan Fest when the announcement was made. “To be part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela told Dodgers Insider. “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. I’m happy for all the fans and all the people who have followed my career. They’re going to be very happy to know that my No. 34 is retired.” Valenzuela will have his jersey retired on Aug. 11 during the Dodgers’ season. However, “Fernandomania” deserves more than just one night. Los Angeles will make it an entire weekend, with a collector’s edition bobblehead given out to fans on Aug. 12 and a replica 1981 World Series ring given out on Aug. 13. “What he accomplished during his playing career, not only on the field but in the community, is extraordinary,” Dodgers team president Stan Kasten said. “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 than the one Fernando has had.” Valenzuela played a key part in bringing the Dodgers their fifth franchise title in 1981, defeating the New York Yankees in six games. He was named Rookie of the Year and received the Cy Young Award that season, pitching to a 2.48 ERA in 25 starts (192.1 innings). In his 11 years with the Dodgers, Valenzuela owned a 3.31 ERA in 331 games, striking out 1,759 batters over 2,348.2 innings.