Photos: Dodgers retire pitcher Fernando Valenzuela’s number


For decades, Fernando Valenzuela‘s No. 34 jersey number was unofficially retired by Dodgers players and coaches in a sign of respect for the legendary Mexican pitcher.

On Friday night, the Dodgers finally made it official.

Valenzuela’s number was formally retired by the team during a pregame ceremony before the Dodgers defeated the Colorado Rockies 6-1 at Dodger Stadium.

“It never crossed my mind that this would ever happen,” Valenzuela said before the ceremony. “Like being in the World Series my rookie year, I never thought that would happen. I didn’t think this would happen, because first of all you have to be in Cooperstown. It really caught me by surprise. It’s hard to put into words what this means.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts weighed in on the significance of Valenzuela’s accomplishments as a player and cultural icon during his 11 seasons in Dodger blue.

“Fernando’s legacy, his impact, is going to last forever,” Roberts said. “It’s lasted such a long time, not only for the Dodgers but all of Major League Baseball. He’s been an inspiration for many people. Just to be able to break barriers and to be so humble while doing it.”

Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela talks about his number being retired by the team before the official ceremony at Dodger Stadium on August 11, 2023.

Will the Dodgers see a player quite like Valenzuela again? Roberts isn’t sure “Fernandomania” will ever be replicated.

“I think it was so unique,” Roberts said. “It was sort of the perfect storm with the city of Los Angeles and a lot of people that look like Fernando, how he just came out so successful and so impactful. In other sports there’s players that create buzz, but that’s going to be hard to parallel what he did.”

Los Angeles Times veteran photographer Jason Armond was on hand to capture Valenzuela’s historic number retirement:

Fernando Valenzuela sits on a podium next to Jaime Jarrín, Julio Urías, Mike Scioscia, Sandy Koufax and Charlie Steiner.

Fernando Valenzuela, second right, sits on a podium next to (from left) Jaime Jarrín, Julio Urías, Mike Scioscia, Sandy Koufax and Charlie Steiner before his jersey retirement ceremony at Dodger Stadium.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

A framed No. 34 Fernando Valenzuela jersey is displayed on the field at Dodger Stadium before Friday's ceremony.

A framed No. 34 Fernando Valenzuela jersey is displayed on the field at Dodger Stadium before Friday’s ceremony.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela addresses the crowd during his jersey retirement ceremony at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela addresses the crowd during his jersey retirement ceremony at Dodger Stadium.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Fans celebrate as Fernando Valenzuela's retired number is revealed during a ceremony at Dodger Stadium.

Fans celebrate as Fernando Valenzuela’s retired number is revealed during a ceremony at Dodger Stadium.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Fernando Valenzuela waves to the crowd during his jersey number retirement ceremony at Dodger Stadium.

Fernando Valenzuela waves to the crowd during his jersey number retirement ceremony at Dodger Stadium.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Fernando Valenzuela throws the ceremonial first pitch.

Fernando Valenzuela throws the ceremonial first pitch before the start of Friday’s game between the Dodgers and Colorado Rockies.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.



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