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This Day in Walter O’Malley History

April 21

April 21, 1952

Kay and Walter O’Malley attend “The King and I” at the St. James Theater in New York starring Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence. The musical, which opened on Broadway on March 29, 1951, won five Tony® Awards.

April 21, 1956

New York Governor Averell Harriman signs Chapter 951 of the Laws of 1956, the bill enabling the formation of the Brooklyn Sports Center Authority into law in Brooklyn and vowed his support to Walter O’Malley for a new home ballpark for the Dodgers. Nearly 100 other figures from politics and sports gathered in the office of Brooklyn Borough President John Cashmore to watch Gov. Harriman sign the bill into law.

April 21, 1958

The Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Museum officially opens at 5501 Wilshire Boulevard with an assortment of baseball memorabilia. Walter O’Malley attends the opening, while other notables at the ceremonies are Los Angeles City Councilwoman Roz Wyman, Babe Herman and former Dodger player and Manager Leo Durocher. The museum collection contained many mementos of Dodger history, including the 200th major league home run ball off the bat of Duke Snider in 1955; a complete Roy Campanella uniform; a Dodger jersey worn by Dolph Camilli in the 1941 World Series; and the ball thrown by Dazzy Vance when he notched his career 2,000th strikeout. Other baseball items of interest not featuring Dodgers are also included, such as the baseball Babe Ruth hit for his 60th home run and the shoes worn by Bob Feller when he struck out 18 Detroit Tigers for the major league record in 1941. Many of the items for the museum were contributed by Bill Schroeder of the Helms Athletic Foundation. The curator of the museum, which was free to all visitors, was Dave Wolper. Later, Dave Wolper would be known in the entertainment world as producer David L. Wolper.Rube Samuelsen, The Sporting News, April 30, 1958

April 21, 1960

In the entertainment industry publication “Limelight,” Walter O’Malley is featured on the Limelight Salute page. In part, the article states, “Walter O’Malley is a congenial man who has had an abundance of experience in finance, law and engineering. O’Malley has been one of baseball’s most progressive figures and has long sought to acquire sufficient land to build a modern ball park. Unable to do so in Brooklyn, he pioneered major league baseball’s expansion to the West Coast.”

April 21, 1960

Effa Manley, former owner of the Negro League Brooklyn Eagles, who played in Ebbets Field and later moved to Newark, writes a letter to Walter O’Malley regarding a pass to Dodger home games. Manley was known as a team owner who fought to improve players’ pay, schedules and travel. In one such instance, Manley provided a first for the Eagles, an air-conditioned Flexible Clipper bus at a cost of $15,000. She was the only woman to own a team in the history of the league. O’Malley happily provided Manley, who lived in Los Angeles, with a season pass. When she passed away in 1981, Manley was believed to be the last remaining team owner of a Negro League team.

April 21, 1962

Jack Butler writes in The Catholic News, “The Dodgers have a new ball park in Los Angeles. It took a lot of patience for Walter F. O’Malley to complete his project. To say ‘complete it’ is an understatement because this is not just an ordinary ball park. Not only is it beautiful and practical but it is as modern as May, 1962.”

April 21, 1967

Although he wanted to build baseball’s first dome stadium in Brooklyn in the mid-1950s, Walter O’Malley really didn’t have need of one in sunny Los Angeles before today, that is. The first home rainout since the arrival of the Dodgers in 1958 occurred after 737 games (including games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, World Series games, at Dodger Stadium and exhibition games) with the postponement of the contest with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Los Angeles Dodgers had not lost an inning because of poor weather prior to this date.

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