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This Day in Walter O’Malley History

October 17

October 17, 1924

Today’s headline in The Pennsylvanian reads, “O’Malley New Junior President”. The sub-head reads “Enthusiasm Unprecedented As Class Surges to Support of Popular Leader”. The accompanying article about Walter O’Malley’s rise to class president states, “He was chosen yesterday after one of the largest and most enthusiastic class elections. Over five hundred votes were polled in a wave of popular sentiment for this active undergraduate. O’Malley’s election is just another indication of the popularity which Theta Delta Chi Fraternity enjoys on the campus. O’Malley was one of the outstanding members of the class, and the logical man for the position...O’Malley is a resident of New York City. Since he came to Pennsylvania he has always been active in class affairs. In his freshman and sophomore years he was chairman of the Penniman Bowl committee. Last year he was a member of the sophomore vigilance committee, and was elected to the Scabbard and Blade Military College.”

October 17, 1957

Walter O’Malley sends the following telegram to Los Angeles Mayor Norris Poulson: “Happy to hear you, Council, civic organizations and newspapers arranging welcoming banquet our behalf. Many thanks. We plan arrive Thursday afternoon. Dodger plane. October 23rd for a five day visit which promises to be very busy one. Regards.”

October 17, 1957

Vincent X. Flaherty, columnist for the Los Angeles Examiner and an avid supporter of bringing Major League Baseball to Los Angeles, writes a letter to Walter O’Malley. Flaherty had corresponded with O’Malley for nearly four years, encouraging him to consider the Los Angeles market for the Dodgers. Now, nine days after the Dodgers decided to draft the Los Angeles territory, following the City Council vote to approve the contract, Flaherty has some more thoughts. “I hope you plan to bring your own broadcasters out here...Remember, even when you do build a new park — for the first two or three years, at least, the Coliseum would do well for the over-flow mob you’d get for a World Series or an All Star game. You couldn’t hurt that place by cutting into the right or left field stands for 295-foot foul lines. As you know, it drops off fast. If you want to make it tougher for hitters, screens could help...You cannot dare overlook the fact that millions of people are accustomed to the Coliseum — not Wrigley (Field in L.A.). Engineering-wise, there isn’t anything insurmountable...If you can get those lights at a reasonable price, I don’t see why the whole Coliseum job cannot be done for $200,000...I have been writing letters to major league owners for years and now comes the end of the trail. Walter, you’ve gone and put me out of business.”

October 17, 1960

In a special session at the Sheraton Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, National League team owners vote to accept New York and Houston for franchises beginning in the 1962 season. Walter O’Malley makes the proposal to accept the cities into the National League and other team owners responded with “unanimous enthusiasm.”Louis Effrat, The New York Times, October 18, 1960 A total of 10 teams were to comprise the National League with the expansion.

October 17, 1962

After a disappointing loss of the National League Pennant to the San Francisco Giants in 1962, Gene Autry of the Los Angeles Angels sent a telegram to Walter O’Malley. O’Malley responds, “Dear Gene: Many thanks for your fine telegram. I have been through this before but I think this year it cut a little deeper.” The Dodgers won 102 games in 1962 which was only good enough to tie the Giants. In the best-of-three N.L. playoff series, the Giants won two games to one.

October 17, 1978

The New York Yankees frustrate the Dodgers for the second consecutive year, by winning the World Series four games to two. This time, however, the Yankees celebrated at Dodger Stadium after winning Game 6 before 55,985 fans. The previous year, the Yankees won the decisive Game 6 at home. In 1978, the Dodgers had won the first two games at Dodger Stadium, only to lose four straight games.

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