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This Day in Walter O’Malley History

March 31

March 31, 1948

On the Dodgers final night of Spring Training in the Dominican Republic, a huge farewell party is held at the Jaragua Hotel. A first baseman, Kevin Connors for the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ top farm team, literally steals the show as the clubs produce a vaudeville act, including song, skits and funny sayings. Connors recites “Casey at the Bat” and enthralls the audience with his extraordinary acting ability, using facial expressions and his whole body to bring every word to life. Ralph Branca and Gene Mauch sing solos. Frenchy Bordagaray impersonates Dodger President Branch Rickey in another skit. But nothing can match the performance of rookie Connors. The first baseman would later play in only one game for the major league Dodgers in 1949. He later established a career as a fine actor. His name is Kevin Joseph Aloysius Connors, but he’s better known to all as “Chuck” Connors.

March 31, 1954

In an effort to mitigate congestion at various exits for Ebbets Field, Walter O’Malley and John Vogt, club engineer, and Jim Thompson, superintendent of Ebbets Field, work with the city’s Department of Housing and Buildings on staffing and access issues. One of the recommendations approved by O’Malley was to “allow people to exit on field and use Bedford Avenue gate after games on Saturdays, Sundays and nights, and all games with attendance exceeding 10,000.” O’Malley did inform the city that “our experience shows that it will take longer to permit a small crowd of 10,000 people to wander across the field to the Bedford Avenue exit and gate and to finally leave the premises than under our normal operation which calls for the use of other exits.”

March 31, 1961

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Evangelist Dr. Billy Graham speaks at a Good Friday service to a large gathering during his Florida Crusades at Holman Stadium at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida. A Crusades choir of nearly 400 locals participates in the rally.

March 31, 1965

ABC-TV tapes a telecast, utilizing seven cameras, of the Dodgers and World Champion St. Louis Cardinals at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida as a “dry run” for the upcoming season. Working the game as a TV commentator is Hall of Fame Dodger Jackie Robinson.Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, March 31, 1965

March 31, 1965

John Cleary, Executive Producer of the television game show “Alumni Fun,” writes a thank you letter to Walter O’Malley for his participation as a member of the University of Pennsylvania team. Cleary says, “Knowing the demands on your daily schedule, we very much appreciate the time you gave us to participate on the show. We feel sure that the University of Pennsylvania alumni all over the country were proud of their team’s performance.”

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