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This Day in Walter O’Malley History

August 17

August 17, 1954

Walter O’Malley writes New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses on his enthusiasm for a baseball stadium design by Captain Emil Praeger. “On next to the last page of the enclosed brochure is a most interesting study showing how box seats could be built,” wrote O’Malley. “This is a terrific improvement over anything that has ever been done and I believe (Emil) Praeger has come up with a great idea. There will be no columns in this ball park. Even the new Milwaukee Stadium is nothing more than a modern edition of old Ebbets Field.”

August 17, 1955

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The Brooklyn Dodgers announced that seven “home” games will be played in Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey during the 1956 season. Walter O’Malley, Dodger President, said, “We plan to play almost all our ‘home’ games at Ebbets Field in 1956 and 1957 but will have to have a new stadium shortly thereafter.” O’Malley explained in the press release why the Dodgers needed a new stadium. “Our present attendance studies show the need for greater parking. The public used to come to Ebbets Field by trolley car, now they come by automobile. We can only park 700 cars. A new stadium in Brooklyn with accessible rapid transit could get by with a 2000 car capacity...Our fans require a modern stadium—one with greater comforts, short walks, no posts, absolute protection from inclement weather, convenient rest rooms and a self selection first come, first served, method of buying tickets...We will consider other locations only if we are finally unsuccessful in our ambition to build in Brooklyn. In that event, we would like to keep the franchise close to our fans. In Jersey, in Queens, and further out on Long Island, are sites within 30 minutes from our Brooklyn fans but our stockholders are prepared to build in Brooklyn and not elsewhere.”

August 17, 1956

In his first year of full-time broadcasting after abandoning a career in law, 38-year-old Howard Cosell interviews Walter O’Malley at the Dodger offices in Brooklyn regarding an article which appeared in Sports Illustrated.

August 17, 1957

Former Dodger major league pitcher Mal Mallette becomes a magazine feature writer and his recent assignment is Manager Walter Alston of the Dodgers in an article in The Saturday Evening Post. Mallette interviews Walter O’Malley for his views on Walter Alston. “I’m sure he (Alston) wasn’t used to the loaded questions those fellows threw at him. He was a little overawed. But they saw he wasn’t a prude, and now they have a basis of mutual respect. Alston is sincere, charming, even grammatical.” O’Malley admits he put Alston under some pressure upon the Dodger Manager when he announced Alston’s job was to beat the Yankees in the World Series. “I can see now where that may have been a mistake, but that’s what he was hired for.”The Saturday Evening Post, August 17, 1957 Mallette pitched two games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950.

August 17, 1960

The 18th annual U.S. Atlantic Tuna Tournament is underway in Point Judith, Narragansett, Rhode Island with Walter O’Malley serving as honorary chairman of the event.

August 17, 1961

Walter O’Malley writes to sports editor Bud Furillo of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner after Furillo had intimated the new baseball stadium constructed in Washington, D.C. might be better than the under construction Dodger Stadium. O’Malley wanted Furillo to receive a guided tour of the stadium construction. O’Malley writes Furillo, “Got a little panicky until I read, also, that you hadn’t been to the Ravine since the first spadefull (sic) of adobe was overturned. Therefore, I’ve got to figure it’s my fault you have put us in second place in the Stadia standings. Of course, I haven’t seen the Washington Stadium either. However, do me (and yourself) a favor and call Tom Seeberg (publicity assistant) some day and have him drive you up to the Ravine for a tour. You’ve got a mighty pleasant surprise coming your way—and you really owe it to yourself to make the trip...Taking in the whole project—Stadium, parking, etc., ours has got to be the best which I think you’ll admit after you see it.”

August 17, 1964

Walter O’Malley writes Dr. Gerald Prindiville and Peter Flanagan of the recent success of Dodger minor league pitcher John Purdin. Purdin was an accomplished pitcher for the U.S. Army in Germany and Dr. Prindiville and Mr. Flanagan had known of Purdin’s success and recommended Purdin to O’Malley. After Dodger scouts viewed Purdin, he was signed to a minor league contract. In August, 1964, Purdin pitched a perfect game for Salisbury in the Western Carolina League and O’Malley so informed Prindiville and Flanagan.

August 17, 1967

Walter O’Malley is a dinner guest of Mervyn LeRoy and among the guests at the movie producer and director’s house are Princess Grace and Prince Rainer III of Monaco. O’Malley notes in his appointment book, “informal.”

August 17, 1972

Stuart Evey sends his thanks to Walter O’Malley after attending a game in the Chairman’s Box at Dodger Stadium. Evey would later help found ESPN for the Getty Oil Co. and would write his memoirs entitled “ESPN: The No-Holds-Barred Story of Power, Ego, Money, and Vision that Transformed a Culture.”

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