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06/18/2008 12:19 PM ET
Dodgers to be honored with Award of Excellence star on Hollywood Boulevard this Friday, June 20
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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers will be honored by the Hollywood Historic Trust and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce this Friday, June 20 at 11 am in celebration of the organization's 50th anniversary in Los Angeles. An Award of Excellence star and commemorative plaque will be presented to the Dodgers in recognition of their significant contributions to the community of Los Angeles and world culture and entertainment. The Dodgers will be the first sports franchise ever to receive such an honor.

The star and plaque will be unveiled and placed adjacent to the constellation of stars along Hollywood Boulevard at the Hollywood and Highland complex. Accepting the award will be Dodger owner Frank McCourt and Dodger President Jamie McCourt. Also participating in the ceremony from the team will be Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, current manager Joe Torre, and Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin. Several current and former members of the Dodgers are expected to be in attendance, including Russell Martin, Eric Karros, Maury Wills, Ron Cey, "Sweet" Lou Johnson, Don Newcombe, Matt Luke, Al Downing, Wes Parker, Rick Monday, Jerry Reuss, and Fernando Valenzuela. Current broadcasters Charley Steiner and Pepe Yniguez will represent the club at the ceremony as well.

In addition to their success on the field, the Dodgers are also being recognized as an agent for social change and a unifier for fans from all walks of life. Winners of six World Championships, including five since coming to Los Angeles, the Dodgers are known for having demonstrated a rich pioneering spirit throughout their history. That spirit, which led to the removal of Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947 and facilitated the team's west coast relocation in 1958, is as vibrant now as ever.

Already this season, the Dodgers have initiated and been a part of several milestone events. In order to ensure the continued vitality of Dodger Stadium, the organization on April 24 announced a multi-faceted stadium improvement plan that will bring modern amenities to Dodger fans while preserving the tradition of the historic venue, which first opened in 1962. The improvements are designed to protect Dodger Stadium's place as the home of Los Angeles baseball for the next 50 years.

Less than one month earlier, on March 29, the Dodgers set a baseball record-and Guinness World Record as well -when 115,300 fans attended an exhibition game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the venue where the West Coast team first played upon its arrival in L.A. in 1958. The proceeds from the event and matching funds from the McCourts generated more than $2 million for ThinkCure!, the cancer-fighting official charity of the organization.

Two weeks before, the Dodgers had led Major League Baseball's delegation to China, where their games against the San Diego Padres were the first ever in China in the history of Major League Baseball. Kicking off the year-long celebration on New Year's Day was the team's first-ever float in the Rose Parade, which was watched by millions of viewers worldwide.

The relationship between the Dodgers and Hollywood has also flourished over the last 50-plus years. The bond was almost immediate, as some of the celebrities in attendance at the Dodgers' first home game in Los Angeles on April 18, 1958 were Edward G. Robinson, Chuck Connors, Alfred Hitchcock, Gregory Peck, Danny Kaye, Burt Lancaster, Jack Lemmon, Nat King Cole, Danny Thomas, Buddy Rogers, John Ford, Tenessee Ernie Ford, Gene Autry, Groucho Marx, George Jessel, Dennis Morgan, Lauren Bacall, Ray Bolger, Jo Stafford, and Paul Weston. As recently as this past homestand, celebrities to visit Dodger Stadium included Vince Vaughn and Chris O'Donnell, among others.

Just a few months after the Dodgers first moved to LA, the team staged the first-ever Hollywood Stars Game, an annual tradition that will also be celebrating its 50th anniversary this week. The exhibition game features top celebrities from the entertainment industry, including past participants such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Annette Funicello, Charlie Sheen, and Robin Williams. This year's contest will be after the Dodgers-Indians game this Saturday, June 21, just one day after the team is immortalized with its Award of Excellence Star.

However, that won't mark the first time a Dodger sees his name unveiled on one of the world's most famous streets, as the team's legendary announcers, Scully and Jarrin have each been the toast of Tinseltown. Scully and Jarrin rank first and second in Major League history for the longest tenure with a single team, as Scully came with the team from Brooklyn and is serving his 59th consecutive year as the "Voice of the Dodgers", and Jarrin has been "behind the mic" for 50 straight seasons.

Scully, whose voice has been heard on television shows such as "General Electric Theater," "Alcoa Premiere," "Mister Ed," and "Brooklyn Bridge," also served as an announcer for the 1966 movie "Fireball 500" and appeared as himself in "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Jonathan Winters Show," and "For Love of the Game," among others. Some other notable Dodgers throughout history to appear on television or the big screen include Sandy Koufax ("Dennis the Menace," "Mister Ed"); Tommy Lasorda ("CHIPs,", "Who's the Boss," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Ladybugs," Slim-Fast commercials; regular late night talk show guest); Don Drysdale ("Leave it to Beaver," "The Brady Bunch," "The Joey Bishop Show"); Maury Wills ("Get Smart," "The Sandlot"); Steve Garvey ("Fantasy Island," "Arli$$," "Baywatch," Star Trek: The Next Generation); Ron Cey ("Columbo," "Murder, She Wrote"); Wes Parker ("The Brady Bunch"); and Mike Piazza ("Married with Children," "Baywatch").

Many notable movies and television shows have also filmed at Dodger Stadium, including "Fletch," "The Sandlot," "Naked Gun," "For Love of the Game," "The Core," "Deep Impact," "Rocky VI," "The Fast and the Furious," "American Idol," and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Already this season, an episode of ABC's "The Bachelorette" featured Tommy Lasorda at Dodger Stadium and the Food Network's "The Chef Jeff Project" filmed at the stadium with Andre Ethier, Tommy Davis, and "Sweet" Lou Johnson.
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