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This Day in Walter O’Malley History

May 31

May 31, 1955

Two and a half years before the Dodgers arrive in Los Angeles, in a key proposition that helped to shape the future of baseball in L.A., the citizens of L.A. vote down a bond issue calling for $4,500,000 to build a 63,000-seat “major athletic stadium.” According to writer Gladwin Hill, “The lack of a suitable baseball park has been widely analyzed as the number one obstacle to the extension of big league baseball to the nation’s third largest metropolitan area. Los Angeles has two teams in the Pacific Coast League, the (L.A.) Angels and the Hollywood Stars. They play respectively at Wrigley Field and Gilmore Stadium. Neither park is of big league caliber. The city’s biggest amphitheatre, the Memorial Coliseum, scene of big football games, will hold up to 100,000. But its oval design will not accommodate a good baseball park layout.” The proposition was defeated by 160,000 to 131,000 votes. It set the stage for Walter O’Malley, who kept the newspaper clipping in his “new stadium” file, to privately finance and build his own stadium.Gladwin Hill, Special to The New York Times, May 30, 1955 and June 2, 1955

May 31, 1955

In thanking Sports Illustrated Art Director James Snyder for a gift of a large cartoon by John Groth which was framed and placed in his office in Brooklyn, Walter O’Malley states, “There is nothing the Dodgers are prouder of than our Vero Beach set-up, both as a Spring training camp and as a Summer Boys camp and Mr. Groth has done a fine job of capturing the whole layout in a single cartoon. Around the Brooklyn office we have been getting a big kick out of picking out the various characters who are depicted in the cartoon and we all appreciate the fine job done by the artist. Many thanks for the fine gift. Please extend both my thanks and my congratulations to Mr. Groth.”

May 31, 1956

Walter O’Malley is made an honorary member of the 1956 United States Olympic Ice Hockey team which won the silver medal in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Robert B. Ridder, Manager of the team, thanks O’Malley for use of the Dodger DC-3 airplane. Ridder writes to O’Malley, “Without the Dodger plane we were lost. I hope you can find a place to hang this award. I can assure you that these certificates have been given to only a small number of people — 22 in all — to show our appreciation to those who in one way or another made our excursion to Europe, and our playing in the Olympic Games the success that it turned out to be. O’Malley responds, “I certainly am most grateful for the citation and you can be assured I will find a ‘spot to hang it,’ as you say. This is the first Olympic team I ever ‘made’ and, believe me, I get a bang out of it.”

May 31, 1958

The Los Angeles Evening Mirror News presents an editorial titled “Cast Your Vote for Progress” in which it vigorously supports the “Yes” vote on “Proposition B”, the June 3 city ballot referendum to determine if the previously agreed to contract with the City of Los Angeles and the Dodgers would stand. “Unless there is a showing of bad faith, or crooked dealing, the people of Los Angeles should honor that contract as a moral obligation. It’s not a question of probaseball or antibaseball. It’s a matter of basic integrity. Do we keep our word on a legitimate contract? The opposition has contrived a synthetic indictment of the terms of the agreement, from whatever vague motives. Actually, the city benefits greatly from the plan. Any schoolboy who knows the difference between $6,000 and $350,000 can see it’s a good deal. Tax revenues from Chavez Ravine are now $6000 a year. The Dodgers will pay $350,000 a year in taxes when the stadium is built.”Los Angeles Evening Mirror News, May 31, 1958

May 31, 1968

Kay O’Malley returns to her alma mater, the College of New Rochelle (New York), for a class reunion.

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