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This Day in Walter O’Malley History

March 23

March 23, 1944

Dodger Vice President and General Counsel Walter O’Malley takes an all-day trip with George V. McLaughlin, President of the Brooklyn Trust Company and Robert Moses, Parks Commissioner for the City of New York, to the team’s spring training site at New York’s Bear Mountain.

March 23, 1955

According to The Sporting News, “Walter O’Malley, Dodger prexy, is proudly showing a letter he received from Ted Lyons, Brooklyn pitching coach of last season and now a White Sox scout. ‘You have,’ wrote Lyons in part, ‘one of the finest groups of players in either league and I’m genuinely sorry it (his job) didn’t work out. May I say that Walt Alston is a good solid baseball man, and was hurt, as everyone knows, by some untimely injuries. With a year under his belt and knowing the league, he will have a fine chance to go all the way, which is my sincere wish.’” Lyons proved to be an accurate judge of talent, as the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers did win the World Championship, the first ever for the organization.Dick Young, The Sporting News, March 23, 1955

March 23, 1957

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Walter O’Malley writes an internal memo regarding a conversation with Horace Stoneham, owner of the New York Giants. “Mr. Stoneham made up his mind sometime ago to move his franchise from New York to Minneapolis. He told me that his decision was quite independent of anything Brooklyn might do. He is prepared to move for the 1958 season...I asked Mr. Stoneham if he had considered San Francisco and he said he was not at all impressed by that location. I believe as a result of this talk that Mr. Stoneham had made a commitment to the Minneapolis people at the time they built the new stadium...I told Mr. Stoneham that I fully briefed Mr. Giles, President of the National League on Brooklyn’s problems and I indicated several possible solutions. Our preference would be to stay in New York but political inertia there seemed to be such that a new stadium could not be expected to materialize for many, many years.”

March 23, 1963

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John Ratekin, renowned landscape architect, is praised in The Sporting News for his “fantastic horticultural display that President Walter O’Malley put in this winter for his Dodger fans at Dodger Stadium. One of his most spectacular designs is a huge champagne glass-shaped planting, from which flows thousands of petunia blooms. These stud the hills surrounding the stadium, where also are planted palms, olive trees, ferns, hibiscus, acacia, lantana, birds of paradise and native shrubs, trees and ground cover.”The Sporting News, March 23, 1963

March 23, 1964

Florida Governor Farris Bryant writes a letter of appreciation to Walter O’Malley regarding a recent visit to Dodgertown in Vero Beach. “I had a great time with you Thursday (March 19). It was very thoughtful of you to have the opening ball autographed for me, and I shall keep it as a reminder of an extremely pleasant occasion. We are glad the Dodgers are in Florida, and we are glad you run the Dodgers.”

March 23, 1973

John W. Waterbury of the New York engineering and architect firm Madigan-Praeger, Inc. writes to Walter O’Malley about the possibility of increasing the capacity of Dodger Stadium per previous discussions. “Enclosed is a sketch of what appears to be the most feasible solution. It consists of closing the gap in the pavillion (sp.), removing part of the pavillion roof and constructing a new single tier stand with bench type seating located between the two existing scoreboards. Such an addition would increase the total capacity to 65,000 at cost of less than $300 per seat. We estimate that the total project cost would be about $2,500,000. This is based on the actual cost of a very similar steel framed stand which was constructed after our design in Minneapolis in 1964.”

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