O'Malley Collection on Display at These Museums
Cypres Sports Museum, Los Angeles, CA
*Walter O'Malley outside of his office on the Club Level at Dodger Stadium, circa mid-1960s. O'Malley built, privately-financed and helped to design Dodger Stadium and is also credited with the westward expansion of Major League Baseball prior to the 1958 season.
*R. Buckminster Fuller's invention of a geodesic dome intrigued Walter O'Malley, who wrote to him in 1955, envisioning a year-round, multi-purpose stadium in Brooklyn for the Dodgers and other events. Had it been built, it would have been baseball's first dome stadium, 10 years before the Astrodome emerged.
*O'Malley's so-called "3 a.m. Plan" before the Coliseum Commission emerges in January 1958 from his lack of sleep as he wrestles with options for where the Los Angeles Dodgers would play that year. By installing a removable screen on the north side of the Coliseum, it was possible to configure the football layout into a makeshift baseball field. The baseball diamond was to be placed in the closed end of the Coliseum, giving home plate a north-east orientation. A 42-foot high screen had to be installed because of the short 251-foot left field fence.
*On May 2, 1957, visionary O'Malley surveys the mammoth Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for possible temporary use by the Dodgers beginning with the 1958 season. He is standing where he believes home plate would be located. For O'Malley, it was only his third and final visit to Los Angeles before he made the decision to relocate the Dodgers on October 8, 1957.
*View of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum scoreboard on April 18, 1958 at the first major league game played in Los Angeles shows a record attendance of 78,672. The Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants, 6-5. The inaugural game set four attendance records: largest regular season (surpassed 78,382 for Chicago White Sox at Cleveland game on August 20, 1948); largest Opening Day (bested the 74,200 for Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees, April 18, 1923); largest Opening Day in Dodger history (previously 34,530 for Giants at Dodgers in Brooklyn's Ebbets Field); and largest in National League history (beating 60,747 for Dodgers at Giants doubleheader at New York's Polo Grounds on May 31, 1937).
*Constructed at a cost of $23 million, O'Malley's dream stadium was the first privately-built Major League Baseball stadium since the original Yankee Stadium opened in 1923. A six-acre casting yard and special one-time use $150,000 crane were crucial to the rapid 19-month construction of Dodger Stadium. O'Malley was on site during the entire construction process and oversaw every detail.
*In 1946, Dodger owner Walter O'Malley writes to renowned engineer Capt. Emil Praeger (original misspelled Prager) about aging Ebbets Field, seeking solutions to privately build a Brooklyn stadium. When it was determined unfeasible in Brooklyn after his unprecedented decade-long effort, only then did O'Malley consider his options. O'Malley retained Praeger as engineer for Holman Stadium, Dodgertown in Vero Beach in 1953 and Dodger Stadium in 1962. *It was a happy time for Kay and Walter O'Malley, as they were in Yankee Stadium for the 1955 World Series. A familiar match-up ensued as the Dodgers played the New York Yankees, who had defeated their cross-town rivals in five previous World Series (1941, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953). This time, the cry of "Wait 'Til Next Year!" was put to rest in the Borough of Brooklyn, as the Dodgers won a hard-fought seven-game World Series against the Yankees and became World Champions for the first time in their 65-year history.
*Two collectible press pins from 1959 are shown: On the left is the 1959 All-Star Game press pin from August 3, as the Dodgers hosted Major League Baseball's second All-Star Game at the Coliseum won by the American League, 5-3. From 1959-62, two All-Star Games were held to benefit the players' pension plan. On the right is the 1959 World Series press pin, featuring Los Angeles City Hall, as the Dodgers defeated the Chicago White Sox in six games to win their first World Championship in L.A. A World Series record crowd of 92,706 attended Game 5 on October 6 at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
*A Dodger night game at the unique Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum draws another huge crowd. During their four seasons playing in the Coliseum (1958-61), while owner O'Malley was building and privately financing Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers had Major League Baseball's highest attendance.
*O'Malley and his son, Peter, point out the Dodger logo on the Douglas DC-3 airplane, owned by the ballclub, which they acquired in 1950. The 20-seat DC-3 was used by the Dodgers to transport the team during Spring Training in Florida and by minor league Dodger teams in St. Paul, MN and Ft. Worth, TX from 1954-56. It was the first of five Dodger-owned aircraft, as they later purchased a Convair 440 Metropolitan (1957-60); DC-6B (1961); Lockheed Electra II (1962-70); and 720-B Fan Jet (1971-82). When O'Malley bought the Convair 440 in 1957, the Dodgers became the first team to own their own airplane.Back to top