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This Day in Walter O’Malley History

December 4

December 4, 1956

In his response to a fan letter from Brooklyn regarding using Ebbets Field for an ice skating rink during the offseason, Walter O’Malley states, “Many years ago we made a very careful engineering study of the possibility of converting Ebbets Field into an artificial ice skating rink. Mr. Robert Moses (New York City planner) referred us to Mr. Earl Andrews, an engineer well acquainted with these matters and I am sorry to say that his report was negative. This is a matter, however, that is being seriously considered by the present engineers in the planning of the new stadium.”

December 4, 1962

To improve service at Dodger Stadium, Walter O’Malley sends a note to Dodger Director Bud Holman in Vero Beach. “Dear Bud: Please show this letter to Capt. Peck and see if he can get on the right track. I am told that the Navy has surplus aircraft exterior elevators for sale. It appears these elevators are capable of carrying 500 persons. We might be able to use one on each end of the stadium to service all levels. Of course cost and other factors might mitigate against us going through with such a program but I would like to know if there are any of these elevators available and where we can get detailed specifications.”

December 4, 1963

Walter O’Malley attends the Sandy Koufax Testimonial Dinner at the Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles. O’Malley tells Koufax, who is unsigned for the 1964 season after winning 25 games for the 1963 World Champion Dodgers, and the audience, “In case they get a little extravagant with their praise tonight take it with a grain of salt, Sandy. Just remember, Buzzie (Bavasi) and I are your friends.”Sid Ziff, Los Angeles Times, December 6, 1963 The dinner featured Toastmaster General George Jessel, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jack Benny, Tony Martin, George Burns, Danny Kaye, Nat King Cole and Dodger stars Don Drysdale and Jim Gilliam. The Boy Scouts of America were beneficiaries of the funds raised at the dinner.

December 4, 1968

Walter O’Malley informs the media that he will semi-retire and relinquish the title of Dodger President at the end of the 1969 season. Media speculation is that Walter’s son Peter will receive the title, but O’Malley says, “I do not wish to make an announcement at this time.” At the time, Peter O’Malley, 30, was the Vice President, Stadium Operations for the Dodgers. On March 17, 1970, Peter O’Malley was named President of the Dodgers, while simultaneously Walter became Dodger Chairman of the Board.

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