Reference Biography: Walter O’Malley

This is Next Year!

Walter O’Malley celebrates the Dodgers’ first championship in Brooklyn history with pitcher Johnny Podres, who pitched a complete victory in a 2-0 triumph over the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

Only once in their illustrious history did the Brooklyn Dodgers win a World Series. The year was 1955. The Dodgers jumped out of the starting gate to win their first 10 games. They proceeded to amass a 22-2 record and were never headed. By July 4, Alston had the club 12 1/2 games in the lead. The Dodgers went 98-55 and won the National League by 13 1/2 games over second-place Milwaukee. They set the record for the earliest clinch date, September 8, in N.L. history. It was Brooklyn’s 11th N.L. Pennant since 1890. Once again, the Dodgers played the New York Yankees in the World Series, a situation that had never returned positive results before. But when Podres hurled a 2-0 shutout in the seventh game of the Series over New York before 62,465 in attendance at Yankee Stadium on October 4 and at exactly 3:43 p.m. Brooklynites went berserk. O’Malley threw his right fist high in the air and jumped for joy! The Borough of Brooklyn overcame its second-class citizen complex and glowed in the spotlight.

Yankees Manager Casey Stengel extends his congratulations to Dodger President Walter O’Malley following the 1955 World Series. Stengel’s Yankees had defeated the Dodgers in the World Series in 1949, 1952 and 1953.

AP Photo

Walter O’Malley raises his arms in triumph following the 1955 World Series with (L-R) Dodger outfielder Duke Snider, National League President Warren Giles, pitcher Johnny Podres and first baseman Gil Hodges.

The New York Press reports: “From 3:44 until 4:01, it was practically impossible to get a dial tone on Manhattan’s telephones: the system was overwhelmed by the largest volume of calls since VJ Day in 1945. Hundreds of thousands of Brooklynites poured into the streets, cheering, laughing, crying tears of joy.

“Motorcades clogged Flatbush Ave., Kings Hwy., Atlantic Ave., Ocean Pkwy., 86th St. and 4th Ave. Long into the night, Brooklyn resounded with clanging cowbells, popping toy cannons and firecrackers; there were bonfires and dancing in the streets, wild cheering, auto horns sounding and spoons banging against pots and pans. The bars were jammed and the drinks were free.” Old Smoke by William Bryk, “The Bums Go West,” New York Press (

The “losing” curse was finally over and the long time saying “Wait ‘Til Next Year!” was put to rest for good.

What made this Dodger baseball era so amazing was that as successful as they were, they had to face the equally talent-laden Yankee teams four times in the 1950s (1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956), coming on the heels of three World Series defeats to the Bronx Bombers in 1941, 1947 and 1949.

The 1955 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers receive a salute at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall following their dramatic seven-game victory over the New York Yankees.

The talented “Golden Era” of the game resonates with a team busting at the seams with players who were later enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The familiar names of Robinson, Reese, Campanella, Hodges and Snider, plus Manager Alston were all inductees into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Two more Dodgers just getting their feet wet in Brooklyn would emerge on the scene. Sandy Koufax was a wild, young left-hander in 1955 and strong-armed right-hander Don Drysdale joined the Brooklyn ballclub in 1956. Koufax and Drysdale would continue the momentum from the 1950s and carry it forward to the next decade, before both pitchers completed Hall of Fame careers.