Dodger Planes Take Flight with Holman at Controls

By Brent Shyer
  • An early aerial view of Spring Training headquarters at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL. The Dodgers first set up camp at Dodgertown in 1948, attracted by local businessman Bud Holman.An early aerial view of Spring Training headquarters at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL. The Dodgers first set up camp at Dodgertown in 1948, attracted by local businessman Bud Holman.
  • In front of the Dodger DC-3 airplane, Bump Holman prepares for a flight with the Dodger organization. Most of the time, Holman flew the Vero Beach, Florida-based plane around the state of Florida, taking the Dodgers to Spring Training games. But, in 1954, Dodger executives decided to experiment for a season by flying the minor league St. Paul, MN club on its road trips in the DC-3 with Holman at the controls. This continued for two more seasons, expanding to the Ft. Worth, TX minor league club before the major league Dodgers were flown in the new Convair 440 Metropolitan in 1957.In front of the Dodger DC-3 airplane, Bump Holman prepares for a flight with the Dodger organization. Most of the time, Holman flew the Vero Beach, Florida-based plane around the state of Florida, taking the Dodgers to Spring Training games. But, in 1954, Dodger executives decided to experiment for a season by flying the minor league St. Paul, MN club on its road trips in the DC-3 with Holman at the controls. This continued for two more seasons, expanding to the Ft. Worth, TX minor league club before the major league Dodgers were flown in the new Convair 440 Metropolitan in 1957.
  • In 1950, the Dodgers acquired a DC-3 from Eastern Air Lines President Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker. The DC-3 replaced the Twin Beechcraft that former Dodger President Branch Rickey used to fly around Florida and to and from New York to Vero Beach, Florida for Spring Training. Bud Holman is visible looking at the plane, standing on the far right.In 1950, the Dodgers acquired a DC-3 from Eastern Air Lines President Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker. The DC-3 replaced the Twin Beechcraft that former Dodger President Branch Rickey used to fly around Florida and to and from New York to Vero Beach, Florida for Spring Training. Bud Holman is visible looking at the plane, standing on the far right.
  • Walter O’Malley and Bud Holman shake hands at the dedication ceremonies for Holman Stadium on March 11, 1953. Though he became a rabid Dodger fan, initially Holman knew little about baseball. As an astute businessman, he saw and acted on the opportunity to bring the Dodgers to Vero Beach for spring training. The plaque presented by the Dodgers reads, “The Brooklyn Dodgers Dedicate Holman Stadium to Honor Bud L. Holman of the Friendly City of Vero Beach, Walter F. O’Malley, President, Emil H. Praeger, C.E., Designer, 1953.”Walter O’Malley and Bud Holman shake hands at the dedication ceremonies for Holman Stadium on March 11, 1953. Though he became a rabid Dodger fan, initially Holman knew little about baseball. As an astute businessman, he saw and acted on the opportunity to bring the Dodgers to Vero Beach for spring training. The plaque presented by the Dodgers reads, “The Brooklyn Dodgers Dedicate Holman Stadium to Honor Bud L. Holman of the Friendly City of Vero Beach, Walter F. O’Malley, President, Emil H. Praeger, C.E., Designer, 1953.”
  • Bump Holman stands in front of the DC-3 with Lee Pike, his first flight instructor and first co-pilot with the Dodgers in 1954. Holman got his commercial pilot’s license at the age of 18.Bump Holman stands in front of the DC-3 with Lee Pike, his first flight instructor and first co-pilot with the Dodgers in 1954. Holman got his commercial pilot’s license at the age of 18.Photo by Barney Stein
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers Convair 440 Metropolitan twin-engine plane was purchased on January 4, 1957. The Dodgers took delivery of the plane in mid-March. At the time of purchase, Dodger President Walter O’Malley announced to Associated Press, “This is the first time a major league club has bought an airplane.”The Brooklyn Dodgers Convair 440 Metropolitan twin-engine plane was purchased on January 4, 1957. The Dodgers took delivery of the plane in mid-March. At the time of purchase, Dodger President Walter O’Malley announced to Associated Press, “This is the first time a major league club has bought an airplane.”
  • Dodger President Walter O’Malley and Dodger Director Bud Holman are on the steps of the 44-seat Dodger Convair 440 Metropolitan twin-engine plane. Holman’s son Bump is visible in the cockpit window. O’Malley added to the order of Eastern Air Lines to purchase the plane directly through the Convair factory, with the assistance of his friend Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, President of Eastern. Bud Holman served as a Director of the Dodgers and was Eastern’s representative at the Vero Beach Airport.Dodger President Walter O’Malley and Dodger Director Bud Holman are on the steps of the 44-seat Dodger Convair 440 Metropolitan twin-engine plane. Holman’s son Bump is visible in the cockpit window. O’Malley added to the order of Eastern Air Lines to purchase the plane directly through the Convair factory, with the assistance of his friend Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, President of Eastern. Bud Holman served as a Director of the Dodgers and was Eastern’s representative at the Vero Beach Airport.
  • The Dodgers became the first major league baseball team to own their own airplane, as they purchased a Convair 440 Metropolitan twin-engine. From left to right, Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, President of Eastern Air Lines, Dodger Director Bud Holman, Dodger President Walter O’Malley and Dodger Director James Mulvey show a model of the Convair 440. The Dodgers made the purchase of the airplane on January 4, 1957, piggybacking on Rickenbacker’s order of airplanes for Eastern.The Dodgers became the first major league baseball team to own their own airplane, as they purchased a Convair 440 Metropolitan twin-engine. From left to right, Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, President of Eastern Air Lines, Dodger Director Bud Holman, Dodger President Walter O’Malley and Dodger Director James Mulvey show a model of the Convair 440. The Dodgers made the purchase of the airplane on January 4, 1957, piggybacking on Rickenbacker’s order of airplanes for Eastern.
  • The Dodgers wrote a check to Convair for the delivery of the Convair 440 Metropolitan airplane for $734,908.96. The Dodgers became the first major league baseball team to own its own plane. At the time, the check was the largest one drawn on the Indian River Citrus Bank in Vero Beach, Florida according to the Vero Beach Press Journal.The Dodgers wrote a check to Convair for the delivery of the Convair 440 Metropolitan airplane for $734,908.96. The Dodgers became the first major league baseball team to own its own plane. At the time, the check was the largest one drawn on the Indian River Citrus Bank in Vero Beach, Florida according to the Vero Beach Press Journal.
  • Capt. Bump Holman shows off the Los Angeles Dodgers Convair 440 Metropolitan airplane in October 1957, just after the name was changed to reflect the club’s new home city. He had it painted in Vero Beach, Florida before piloting team executives and select players on their inaugural flight to Los Angeles on October 23, 1957. In 1959 alone, Holman made 295 flights in the Convair in which he transported the Dodgers and three of the minor league teams to their road trip destinations. Dodger President Walter O’Malley once said that “owning their own plane helped the Dodgers to win the 1959 pennant.”Capt. Bump Holman shows off the Los Angeles Dodgers Convair 440 Metropolitan airplane in October 1957, just after the name was changed to reflect the club’s new home city. He had it painted in Vero Beach, Florida before piloting team executives and select players on their inaugural flight to Los Angeles on October 23, 1957. In 1959 alone, Holman made 295 flights in the Convair in which he transported the Dodgers and three of the minor league teams to their road trip destinations. Dodger President Walter O’Malley once said that “owning their own plane helped the Dodgers to win the 1959 pennant.”
  • The Dodger Convair 440 arrives in Los Angeles for the first time on October 23, 1957 carrying club executives and select players as the welcoming committee and fans are ready to greet the Dodgers to their new home. Bump Holman had “Los Angeles” painted on the plane in Vero Beach, Florida prior to traveling to New York to pick up the traveling contingent and flying to Los Angeles. The Dodgers arrived more than two hours late for the festivities due to strong headwinds which necessitated a fuel stop by Capt. Holman, but it did not put a damper on the celebration as the bands played and the big crowd properly welcomed the traveling party.The Dodger Convair 440 arrives in Los Angeles for the first time on October 23, 1957 carrying club executives and select players as the welcoming committee and fans are ready to greet the Dodgers to their new home. Bump Holman had “Los Angeles” painted on the plane in Vero Beach, Florida prior to traveling to New York to pick up the traveling contingent and flying to Los Angeles. The Dodgers arrived more than two hours late for the festivities due to strong headwinds which necessitated a fuel stop by Capt. Holman, but it did not put a damper on the celebration as the bands played and the big crowd properly welcomed the traveling party.
  • Dodger President Walter O’Malley makes an historic journey down the steps of the Convair 440 Metropolitan twin-engine plane on the evening of October 23, 1957 at Los Angeles International Airport. He is now President of the “Los Angeles” Dodgers.Dodger President Walter O’Malley makes an historic journey down the steps of the Convair 440 Metropolitan twin-engine plane on the evening of October 23, 1957 at Los Angeles International Airport. He is now President of the “Los Angeles” Dodgers.
  • Capt. Bump Holman and co-pilot Paul Loux are beginning preparations for another road trip inside the cockpit of the Dodger Convair 440 Metropolitan, which went into service during Spring Training, 1957.Capt. Bump Holman and co-pilot Paul Loux are beginning preparations for another road trip inside the cockpit of the Dodger Convair 440 Metropolitan, which went into service during Spring Training, 1957.
  • A newspaper article about the traveling lifestyle of Dodger pilot “Bump” Holman of Vero Beach, Florida.A newspaper article about the traveling lifestyle of Dodger pilot “Bump” Holman of Vero Beach, Florida.
  • In 1959, Capt. Bump Holman prepares to take Dodger President Walter O’Malley and his son Peter to Miami in a Piper Tri-Pacer. Behind the Piper is the Los Angeles Dodgers Convair 440 Metropolitan airplane.In 1959, Capt. Bump Holman prepares to take Dodger President Walter O’Malley and his son Peter to Miami in a Piper Tri-Pacer. Behind the Piper is the Los Angeles Dodgers Convair 440 Metropolitan airplane.
  • A view of the Los Angeles Dodgers DC-6B airplane, which transported the Dodgers in the 1961 season. Capt. Bump Holman also piloted the Los Angeles Angels that season on their road trips using the Dodger Douglas DC-6B.A view of the Los Angeles Dodgers DC-6B airplane, which transported the Dodgers in the 1961 season. Capt. Bump Holman also piloted the Los Angeles Angels that season on their road trips using the Dodger Douglas DC-6B.
  • A starboard view of the 66-seat Los Angeles Dodgers DC-6B, in use by the club for the 1961 season. In addition to transporting the Dodgers, the DC-6B also carried the newly-formed Los Angeles Angels of the American League back east during Dodger homestands. The DC-6B was used for one season until the Electra II arrived in 1962.A starboard view of the 66-seat Los Angeles Dodgers DC-6B, in use by the club for the 1961 season. In addition to transporting the Dodgers, the DC-6B also carried the newly-formed Los Angeles Angels of the American League back east during Dodger homestands. The DC-6B was used for one season until the Electra II arrived in 1962.
  • The Dodgers purchased the Lockheed Electra II from General Motors early in 1961, but had to wait to take delivery of the airplane until November of that year. The Dodgers spent $75,000 with Horton and Horton to design the interior.The Dodgers purchased the Lockheed Electra II from General Motors early in 1961, but had to wait to take delivery of the airplane until November of that year. The Dodgers spent $75,000 with Horton and Horton to design the interior.
  • A magazine article about the preparation of the Dodgers’ new Lockheed Electra II from General Motors.A magazine article about the preparation of the Dodgers’ new Lockheed Electra II from General Motors.
  • Lockheed mocked up a color photograph of their Electra II showing what the specialized Dodger airplane would potentially look like, using the same markings and colors as the Dodger Convair 440 Metropolitan. The Dodgers began using the Electra II in 1962 with Capt. Bump Holman at the controls.Lockheed mocked up a color photograph of their Electra II showing what the specialized Dodger airplane would potentially look like, using the same markings and colors as the Dodger Convair 440 Metropolitan. The Dodgers began using the Electra II in 1962 with Capt. Bump Holman at the controls.
  • A view of the Dodger Lockheed Electra II, dedicated “Kay O’” for Walter O’Malley’s wife Kay. O’Malley suggested the baseball and the speed lines to adorn the plane.A view of the Dodger Lockheed Electra II, dedicated “Kay O’” for Walter O’Malley’s wife Kay. O’Malley suggested the baseball and the speed lines to adorn the plane.
  • The Electra’s exclusive baseball bat and ball carpet design is shown in color in this interior cabin photograph of the forward lounge and cockpit. Horton and Horton of Ft. Worth, Texas ordered the 113-foot long carpet (15-foot wide) in one piece from Brazil.The Electra’s exclusive baseball bat and ball carpet design is shown in color in this interior cabin photograph of the forward lounge and cockpit. Horton and Horton of Ft. Worth, Texas ordered the 113-foot long carpet (15-foot wide) in one piece from Brazil.
  • The interior galley of the Lockheed Electra II plane was used by the Dodgers to feed a hungry group of players and staff on their road trips.The interior galley of the Lockheed Electra II plane was used by the Dodgers to feed a hungry group of players and staff on their road trips.
  • One of six card tables in the cabin of the Dodger Lockheed Electra II that Dodger President Walter O’Malley requested for the players and coaching staff to use on board.One of six card tables in the cabin of the Dodger Lockheed Electra II that Dodger President Walter O’Malley requested for the players and coaching staff to use on board.
  • A detailed look at the proposed artwork for the table tops used for card games on board the Dodger Lockheed Electra II. The artwork is a cartoon showing the Dodger players in the cabin and on the outside wings and tail of the plane.A detailed look at the proposed artwork for the table tops used for card games on board the Dodger Lockheed Electra II. The artwork is a cartoon showing the Dodger players in the cabin and on the outside wings and tail of the plane.
  • Capt. Harry R. “Bump” Holman is seated in his familiar cockpit chair ready for another flight with the Dodgers. Today, Holman and his brother Tom own Sun Aviation at Vero Beach, Florida. They now have 50 employees in their avionics and maintenance departments.Capt. Harry R. “Bump” Holman is seated in his familiar cockpit chair ready for another flight with the Dodgers. Today, Holman and his brother Tom own Sun Aviation at Vero Beach, Florida. They now have 50 employees in their avionics and maintenance departments.
  • Bud Holman (standing), Bump’s father, greets Dodger President Walter O’Malley who arrives in a car on the tarmac, with the “Kay O’” Dodger Electra II seen in the background.Bud Holman (standing), Bump’s father, greets Dodger President Walter O’Malley who arrives in a car on the tarmac, with the “Kay O’” Dodger Electra II seen in the background.
  • Capt. Bump Holman’s career as the Dodger pilot is the subject of a newspaper article in <em>The Ledger</em> (Lakeland, Florida) “Florida Southern Grad ‘Bumpy’ Holman Flies Ball Players in Jet.” A photo of the Dodger Lockheed Electra II accompanies the article which shows Holman shaking hands with Lakeland’s acting airport manager Don Emerson.Capt. Bump Holman’s career as the Dodger pilot is the subject of a newspaper article in The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida) “Florida Southern Grad ‘Bumpy’ Holman Flies Ball Players in Jet.” A photo of the Dodger Lockheed Electra II accompanies the article which shows Holman shaking hands with Lakeland’s acting airport manager Don Emerson.
  • The original blueprint, sketched in 1965, shows a proposed Douglas DC-9-10 airplane for the Dodgers. Walter O’Malley was considering upgrading to the jet from the Dodger-owned Lockheed Electra II, which he had purchased in 1961. The new aircraft would also have been owned by the Dodgers, but by agreement also used by the Los Angeles Angels, thus both team logos are visible. The Angels were already sharing the Electra with the Dodgers for their road trips. O’Malley had agreed to pay the nearly $7 million price tag for the DC-9 model, but when Douglas officials came back to him and asked him to opt for a newer stretch model DC-9-20 at a considerable price increase, it was a bigger plane than the Dodgers needed and he decided to pass. It was not until 1970 when O’Malley purchased a 720-B Fan Jet that the Dodgers officially moved into the jet age. The 720-B Fan Jet was christened “Kay O’II” in tribute to Kay O’Malley, First Lady of the Dodgers.Click image for a larger viewThe original blueprint, sketched in 1965, shows a proposed Douglas DC-9-10 airplane for the Dodgers. Walter O’Malley was considering upgrading to the jet from the Dodger-owned Lockheed Electra II, which he had purchased in 1961. The new aircraft would also have been owned by the Dodgers, but by agreement also used by the Los Angeles Angels, thus both team logos are visible. The Angels were already sharing the Electra with the Dodgers for their road trips. O’Malley had agreed to pay the nearly $7 million price tag for the DC-9 model, but when Douglas officials came back to him and asked him to opt for a newer stretch model DC-9-20 at a considerable price increase, it was a bigger plane than the Dodgers needed and he decided to pass. It was not until 1970 when O’Malley purchased a 720-B Fan Jet that the Dodgers officially moved into the jet age. The 720-B Fan Jet was christened “Kay O’II” in tribute to Kay O’Malley, First Lady of the Dodgers.
  • A June 1957 article in <em>Flying Magazine</em> by Larry Boeck of the <em>Louisville Courier-Journal</em> features Capt. Bump Holman and the logistics of moving the Dodgers via the team-owned Convair 440 Metropolitan plane. Holman is shown looking out the window of the cockpit, while his brother Tom, a substitute co-pilot, stands on the plane’s steps.A June 1957 article in Flying Magazine by Larry Boeck of the Louisville Courier-Journal features Capt. Bump Holman and the logistics of moving the Dodgers via the team-owned Convair 440 Metropolitan plane. Holman is shown looking out the window of the cockpit, while his brother Tom, a substitute co-pilot, stands on the plane’s steps.
  • Bump Holman, who retired after the 1964 season to carry on his father’s businesses in Vero Beach, Florida, selected former Eastern Air Lines pilot Lew Carlisle to take the controls of the Dodger Electra II in 1965. Beginning in 1971, Carlisle piloted the Dodgers 720-B fan jet. Carlisle and his wife Millie are ready to enter the plane.Bump Holman, who retired after the 1964 season to carry on his father’s businesses in Vero Beach, Florida, selected former Eastern Air Lines pilot Lew Carlisle to take the controls of the Dodger Electra II in 1965. Beginning in 1971, Carlisle piloted the Dodgers 720-B fan jet. Carlisle and his wife Millie are ready to enter the plane.
  • The Dodgers’ 720-B fan jet, named “Kay ’O II,” was purchased in 1970 and used through the 1982 season.The Dodgers’ 720-B fan jet, named “Kay ’O II,” was purchased in 1970 and used through the 1982 season.
  • A closer look at the designation of “Kay ’O II” on the Dodger 720-B fan jet. “Kay O’ II” was the second plane which paid tribute to the First Lady of the Dodgers, Kay O’Malley. The first was the Dodger Electra II which was christened “Kay ’O” for Walter O’Malley’s wife.A closer look at the designation of “Kay ’O II” on the Dodger 720-B fan jet. “Kay O’ II” was the second plane which paid tribute to the First Lady of the Dodgers, Kay O’Malley. The first was the Dodger Electra II which was christened “Kay ’O” for Walter O’Malley’s wife.