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This Day in Walter O’Malley History

November 18

November 18, 1957

Former Dodger Manager Charlie Dressen is hired by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a coach for the 1958 season. Dressen said, “I’d rather have a one-year contract with the Dodgers (as a coach), than a two-year deal with Washington (as manager). I called my wife, Ruth, and told her about the offer from the Dodgers. ‘Take it!’ she almost screamed at me. Ruth has wanted me to give up managing, anyhow. ‘If this means you’re going to be here in Los Angeles (where they resided in Bel-Air), sign on as bat boy!’”Los Angeles Times, November 19,1957 Dressen wound up coaching in the 1958 and 1959 seasons, the first two Dodger years in Los Angeles.

November 18, 1966

While Walter O’Malley is with the Dodger team in Japan on a Goodwill Tour of that country, big news erupts in Los Angeles when Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Sandy Koufax announces his retirement at a press conference at the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel. Koufax was accompanied by his attorney, J. William Hayes, who had helped him receive a $125,000 one-year contract for the 1966 season after a spring training holdout in tandem with fellow star pitcher Don Drysdale. The 30-year-old Koufax decides that his painful arthritic left elbow has made it impossible to continue his baseball career, having won 27 games in 1966 and pitched the Dodgers to their second consecutive National League Pennant and third in four seasons. Dodger Vice President and General Manager E. J. “Buzzie” Bavasi stated, “I wanted Sandy to wait until Mr. O’Malley returned from Japan at least. I also had hoped Sandy would withhold his announcement until after the winter meetings early next month. Now it’s going to be tough to deal there. When the other ball clubs get you down, they step on you.”Bob Hunter, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, November 18, 1966 In 12 seasons with the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, the dominating Koufax won 165 games, pitched four no-hitters including a perfect game in 1965, was a three-time Cy Young Award winner and two-time World Series MVP. In 1972, he was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

November 18, 1966

Robert A. MacCallum, American Vice Consul for the Consulate of the United States of America in Nagoya, Japan writes to Walter O’Malley about the Dodgers’ 1966 Goodwill Tour to Japan. “Dear Mr. O’Malley: I hope your trip back to the States was a smooth one and that you and all the Dodgers enjoyed Japan as much as Japan enjoyed you. It’s visits like this that provide the people-to-people common ground that Japan-America relations need. The impact on Nagoya was tremendous...Thank you and Mrs. O’Malley again for your friendliness and courtesy.”

November 18, 1976

In writing a letter to his friend Ed Bunker in Florida, Walter O’Malley mentions baseball’s new free agent situation. “The Dodgers are not bidding in the ‘instant’ free agent market for obvious reasons,” writes O’Malley. “Thinking about the new owners in baseball I can only use the saying, ‘we have met the enemy and it is us.’ On December 23, 1975, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled that Dodger pitcher Andy Messersmith and Montreal hurler Dave McNally (who had since retired) were “free agents” and could negotiate with any major league team, setting off a reaction which would forever change the sport.

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