||In October 1966, Fuller sent a note to O’Malley wanting to take his grandson Jaime Snyder to the World Series at Dodger Stadium. He wrote, “Congratulations, magnificent Walter. Averaging one penant (sp.) every two years since we started dome talks fourteen years ago in Borough Hall.”
In his May 23, 1967 letter to O’Malley, Fuller commented, “I was sad not to be able to see you when, with my grandson, I occupied the box seats that you made available to me for the World Series last year. I was shocked to learn of your most untimely ill health. With warm affectionate and admiring regards. Faithfully yours, Bucky.”
The aftereffect of the Fuller and O’Malley connection? A young New Orleans businessman named Dave Dixon, a Tulane alumnus and a marine in World War II, remembered reading a note in The Sporting News about Fuller working with O’Malley on a proposed dome stadium for baseball in Brooklyn. Dixon took that idea and his belief that while the Astrodome was just a “covered baseball field,”3 it was really not a good multi-purpose facility.
Dixon wanted a gem of modern and urban architecture to be erected in New Orleans, but he had a difficult time convincing locals of his plan in the mid-to-late 1960s. He worked tirelessly to pass a bill with the Louisiana Legislature in 1966 which permitted the stadium to be built. That same year, the NFL awarded a franchise to New Orleans. On Dixon’s brainchild, the facility which came to be known as “The Superdome” opened on August 3, 1975.
“The origin of the Louisiana Superdome really was with Walter O’Malley,” said Dixon, now retired in New Orleans. “That’s where I got the idea from reading a story in The Sporting News. A dome stadium in New Orleans makes great sense where you could air condition and have it covered in case of rain. We get a lot of rain here and it would make summertime activities a whole lot more pleasant.
“I had a very nice visit with Walter at Dodger Stadium. Then he invited me to join him for dinner that night, which I did, along with some other major Hollywood people who were in his suite at Dodger Stadium. I enjoyed myself. I was the initiator of the Superdome here in New Orleans. I got our governor, a wonderful man named John McKeithen, who never wavered and we got this thing built and it’s the most magnificent building, I think, in the country. Some of that really comes from swapping ideas with Walter. It’s a major facility that’s probably used 365 days a year for various events. We had a good long session in Los Angeles. I thought he was a very kind, good man. He made a wonderful impression on me.”
Baseball Parks with Domes (Seating Capacity) as of 2006:
Minnesota — Metrodome (45,423)
Seattle — Safeco Field (47,447)
Tampa Bay — Tropicana Field (43,772)
Toronto — Rogers Centre (50,516)
Arizona — Chase Field (49,033)
Houston — Minute Maid Park (40,950)
Milwaukee — Miller Park (41,900)
Former baseball parks with domes: Houston Astrodome (1965-99);
Kingdome, Seattle (1977-99);
Olympic Stadium, Montreal (1977-2004).