Response to Fan Letter
Dodger President Walter O’Malley regularly answered all correspondence sent to his office at 215 Montague Street and this significant letter to Albert Hirsch, a fan of the Dodgers residing in Brooklyn, is no exception, as it provides insight into the frustration on both sides.
In his March 19, 1957 letter, O’Malley starts, “I have your letter but I wonder how carefully you read the newspapers.” He then explains, “They very clearly stated that we want to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn and were willing to spend $5,000,000 to do so.”
This is part of O’Malley’s unprecedented 10-year effort to privately build a new stadium for the Dodgers in Brooklyn to replace aging Ebbets Field and its limited parking for 700 cars. O’Malley had proposed a translucent domed stadium with ample parking at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn two years earlier. Not only would it have resolved the Brooklyn parking problem and provide year-round possibilities for multiple sports and events in a covered stadium, the area was a hub for service by all the New York subway lines, as well as the Long Island Railroad.
O’Malley continues in the letter, “Progress, however, has been very slow and we will have to leave Brooklyn if there is not to be a new stadium when our present lease runs out. Thank you for writing.”
At the time, O’Malley was doing everything possible to stay in Brooklyn, having met and talked with almost anyone of influence that could help. But, circumstances with New York public officials made assembling a parcel of land, which he would have paid for, next to impossible as they were pointing him outside of Brooklyn.
The letter shows O’Malley continued his belief that by selling both Ebbets Field the previous winter and the Montreal stadium of their top minor league affiliate in 1956, he had raised enough seed money to privately finance and build his dream stadium in Brooklyn.
A watermark in the stationery of this letter shows the Willard Mullin “Brooklyn Bum” artwork that was highlighted on the cover of the 1957 Dodger Yearbook.