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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Revisiting the Volatile Season of ‘65

For the next six days, much of Los Angeles was set ablaze and looted in a paroxysm of protest against racism and police brutality. Liquor stores and pawnshops were ransacked, 200 buildings were burned to the ground, and snipers on rooftops took aim at the firefighters who came to help. One young Dodgers fan, then-10-year-old Ozzie Smith, later recounted the harrowing experience to The New York Times.

“We had to stay in the house for a week, maybe two weeks,” Smith said. “My dad would go down to the store for food and come right home. You could hear gunshots all the time.”

...

Ten miles away at Dodger Stadium, as Maury Wills and company faced the Pirates, management offered rain checks to ticket holders who didn’t feel safe enough to attend. Players, too, were worried.

“I had to drive through that area to get to the ballpark,” Johnson told the Los Angeles Daily News. “People were shooting. There were snipers on the freeway. I wore my uniform because that was my identification. I thought if people saw that I was a Dodger, I wouldn’t get killed.”

...

“I really don’t think Juan should have been playing at all,” said Willie Mays. “He was pretty strung out, full of fear and anger, and holding it inside.”

Marichal was typically genial and devoted to his Bible studies. But the Juan Marichal who woke up on Aug. 22 to face the Dodgers was not the same man who carried a picture of St. Martin, the peacemaker, in his pocket.

“Juan wanted to fight,” teammate Matty Alou said. “He had the devil inside him that day.”


 

 

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