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This Day in Walter O’Malley History

August 1

August 1, 1960

The construction of Dodger Stadium is expected to begin on August 15th as announced by Walter O’Malley. Groundbreaking for the new stadium occurred in September, 1959, but the contract between the Dodgers and the City of Los Angeles required litigation through the California State Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court and delayed the start of building the new stadium. The California State Supreme Court ruled unanimously the contract was valid and the United States Supreme Court refusal to review the matter upholds the California Supreme Court.

August 1, 1962

Walter O’Malley responds to a letter from Los Angeles County Supervisor John Anson Ford after Ford had expressed his enjoyment of Dodger Stadium at a recent game. O’Malley responded to Ford, “You were thoughtful to write me your nice letter of July 31st. I am delighted that you enjoyed your visit to the Stadium and that your grandson and Mrs. Ford had a good time. Of course, John, I knew you had some misgivings in the early days about our intentions as did others but I was contented to rest my case on the fact that I hoped to build an outstanding stadium that would be a matter of pride to the people in Southern California. As I look back over all the battles I sincerely believe that I kept every promise I made and I sort of hope that you too, feel that way.”

August 1, 1962

Walter O’Malley writes a letter to Sports Illustrated writer Huston Horn after Horn had failed to keep an interview appointment with him. The assignment for Horn changed and he failed to inform O’Malley. “All is forgiven” wrote O’Malley to Horn. “Keep doing a good job. Sports in general could stand a little pat on the back once in awhile as we seem to be in an era when negative writing receives more attention than the plus stories.”

August 1, 1970

Bob Hunter of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner tells a story by the Dodgers’ top hitter that season, Billy Grabarkewitz. Grabarkewitz said Walter O’Malley had trouble pronouncing the name of the player known as “Billy G” or “Billy Gee-Whiz.” “I told him (Walter O’Malley) we’d make a deal. He could call me Billy and I’d call him Mr. O’Malley.” Grabarkewitz also discussed the rumor the Dodgers were going to add the players’ names to the back of the uniform. “If it wasn’t for me, I’m sure they would have done it,” said Grabarkewitz.Bob Hunter, The Sporting News, August 1, 1970 The Dodgers did not add player names to the backs of the uniform until the 1972 season. Grabarkewitz was named to the 1970 National League All-Star team and hit 17 home runs for the 1970 Dodgers.

August 1, 1972

Walter O’Malley thanks former major league umpire Emmett Ashford for a series of photos and postcards that Ashford had taken on his vacation. Apparently, Ashford had a special reason to send along the photos and postcards to Walter O’Malley. “Dear Emmett,” wrote O’Malley, “It was thoughtful of you and Margaret (Ashford’s wife) to send me the postcards pictures and Moose Holder. I have enjoyed them all tremendously. Looks like the O’Malleys really got around with a road and feed store named after them.”

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