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The Early Years
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Los Angeles Bound
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The Last Inning
The Biography of Walter O'Malley

Curveball Right Down the Middle
Celebrity support was nothing new for the Dodgers, who had an impressive first-year list of season box holders in 1958, including Gregory Peck, Yul Brynner, Eddie Fisher, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Cecil B. deMille, Sam Goldwyn, Reynolds and Lewis. Doggone if even the famed four-legged star “Lassie,” who boasted her own series, purchased season seats.
The Dodgers had defeated the Cubs on a bitter cold day at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and the momentum of that victory helped to bolster the positive referendum vote in O’Malley’s opinion.
Every type of business supported “Proposition B,” including industry, labor, taxpayers’ associations, veterans, realtors, the ministry, entertainment, Chambers of Commerce and politicians at City Hall.
The largest non-Presidential election turnout in Los Angeles history resulted, as 62.3 percent of the city’s 1,105,427 registered voters cast ballots.94 The referendum favored O’Malley and the Dodgers by 25,785 votes, with more than 670,000 total votes cast.
Asked if he was surprised by the close vote on the referendum, O’Malley said, “In baseball we have learned to call it a victory and it counts in the standings, whether you win by 1 to 0 or by a big score.”95
Meanwhile, on the field, Los Angelenos embraced their new baseball team with gusto. They flocked to the Coliseum to watch the Dodgers, setting attendance records every year in the majors. One area that O’Malley had been dead-on target was the Los Angeles area fans’ support for a major league baseball team. When the Giants came to town, the rivalry which had started in New York never waned in California, something that owners O’Malley and Stoneham had hoped would continue and were delighted to see. While the 1958 Dodgers had trouble getting out of the gate, Major League Baseball was gaining acceptance in its new environs due in large part to one man.

94 New York Journal American, June 4, 1958, AP story
95 Mirror News, June 5, 1958

On June 3, 1958, Walter O’Malley checks his ballpark ticker-tape machine for results of “Proposition B” voting in Los Angeles. The news wound up good for the Dodgers and the City of Los Angeles, as the referendum passed.

Courtesy of University of Southern California, on behalf of the USC Specialized Libraries and Archival Collections

The Dodgers would draw more than 7.9 million fans at the Coliseum from 1958-61.

Los Angeles Times Collection, UCLA Library Special Collections

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