Short Stops

Mary’s Hour

As a devout Catholic, Walter O’Malley was gracious in his offer to assist the archdiocese when a public “Mary’s Hour” at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was scheduled on May 4, 1958. In reviewing the Dodger season schedule, their first in Los Angeles, O’Malley realized a conflict as the Dodgers were to play a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies. Immediately, O’Malley wanted to ask the National League to change the schedule to accommodate the ceremony.

However, Cardinal J. Francis McIntyre, who was appreciative of O’Malley’s willingness to change the date, instead did so himself, to Sunday, May 11, which coincidentally was Mother’s Day. O’Malley then ordered a custom-designed 18-foot statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the annual Mary’s Hour devotion from Warner Brothers studio.

Following up on one of countless letters he received, a fan suggested that the Dodgers should host Catholic Sisters who were interested in baseball. After receiving chancery office approval to do so, O’Malley began the tradition of “Nuns Day” in 1961 once each summer on a Saturday. Each season, approximately 2,500 nuns were guests of the Dodgers, enjoyed free box seats, food and beverages, game programs, team yearbooks and tram service to the stadium escalators.

He and wife Kay were regular churchgoers and involved with numerous charitable organizations, Catholic and otherwise.

O’Malley was miffed when columnists used to write his middle initial as “J,” when in fact it is “F.”

“Why do newspapermen think every Irish Catholic must be named Joseph?” he asked. “Don’t they know the Church also recognizes several saints named Francis?”

Source: Charles G. Johnson, Extension Magazine, 1964 “O’Malley...Baseball’s Misunderstood Magnet”

Back to top