It’s been 42 years since “Fernandomania” took hold in Los Angeles. Now, the iconic pitcher will be immortalized at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers announced Saturday that they will be retiring Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 jersey during the 2023 season during a three-day “Fernandomania” celebration. The festivities will begin on Aug. 11, when Valenzuela’s jersey officially will be displayed.
A collector’s edition bobblehead will be given out on Aug. 12, and a replica 1981 World Series ring will be the giveaway on Aug. 13.
Valenzuela took the league by storm as a 20-year-old rookie in 1981. He led the majors in shutouts (eight) and strikeouts (180), going 13-7 with a 2.48 ERA. He won the National League’s Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award honors while finishing fifth in MVP voting.
Valenzuela helped guide the Dodgers to their fifth championship in franchise history, with Los Angeles defeating the Yankees in six games in the 1981 World Series.
“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “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 spent 11 of his 17 major-league seasons with the Dodgers, making six All-Star teams with four top-five finishes in Cy Young Award voting.
“What he accomplished during his playing career, not only on the field but in the community, is extraordinary,” Dodgers 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.”