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This Day in Walter O’Malley History

April 4

April 4, 1953

Lou Perini, owner of the Boston Braves, writes a thank you letter to Walter O’Malley regarding his support of the Braves’ move to Milwaukee for the 1953 season. The Braves become the first major league baseball team in 50 years to relocate. “I will never forget so long as I live the confidence in me which you displayed,” says Perini. “I feel as sure as I can possibly feel that it was the right move. I did consider all of the aspects of this decision, that is, your interests, as well as ours, and, above all, what would be in the best interests of baseball as a whole. The manner in which you handled your motion was outstanding. Thanks, Lou”

April 4, 1962

The Los Angeles Dodgers announce that the 1962 season opener on April 10 from new Dodger Stadium will be televised locally on KTTV Channel 11. Walter O’Malley states, “A sellout (50,000) is assured for the opener, but many thousands more will want to see the game and the new stadium, so we’re happy to present this telecast.” It is the first telecast of a Dodger home game in Los Angeles. In the past, only road games from San Francisco against the rival Giants had been televised on KTTV.

April 4, 1964

Walter O’Malley speaks to Hal Lebovitz of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writing in The Sporting News about plans for Major League Baseball games to be put on subscription television. O’Malley discusses the virtues of subscription programs on TV. “This special unit is put into your home, connected to the telephone lines and to your TV set,” said O’Malley. “This will give the viewers of various intellectual levels a choice of programs. He can watch the ball game, or a concert, or a program specially designed for youngsters. Or perhaps there is a theater play or a science lecture. If he doesn’t want to watch any of these, he can still see the free programs on his set over the regular channels. Or he can listen to music 24 hours a day at no extra charge.” O’Malley is asked about a person who would sign up for the programming and share the cost with his neighbors. O’Malley replies, “I don’t believe so. It’s inconvenient and the man whose house the set is in is going to get tired of paying for the snacks and the drinks.” On July 17, 1964, the Dodgers become the first team to present a game on pay television, as their contest against the Chicago Cubs airs on Subscription TV.

April 4, 1967

Walter O’Malley makes arrangements to present to Matsutaro Shoriki, owner of the Yomiuri Giants, a gift of a live deer to be on display at Yomiuri Land (“the Disneyland of Japan”). The deer is to be flown to Tokyo by air freight. O’Malley writes to John H. Slater in Naples, Florida stating, “One of the most important exhibits contains religious relics of Buddha which are valued most highly and, of course, considered sacred. It seems important that they have some deer among these relics. I plan to make a gift of the deer and their transportation to Japan.”

April 4, 1969

After a four-year hiatus, the Freeway Series resumes between the Dodgers and the Angels at Dodger Stadium. The Angels won the first five exhibition games against the Dodgers played at Dodger Stadium from 1962-64. From 1965-68, the teams did not play each other. The Dodgers and Angels split the two games played in 1969.

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