Artifacts from the O’Malley family collection are on display at the “Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American” exhibit at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles from April 7-October 30, 2016.
Peter O’Malley, President, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1970-1998, is lending the original Dodger Stadium model, which was made by Mervyn LeRoy, renowned Hollywood producer-director, from design plans and given as a gift to Peter’s father, Walter in 1960. LeRoy had David Ernstein, a model-maker at Warner Bros. Studios create the model, circa 1960. The original model was exhibited in the winter of 1961-62, prior to the April 10, 1962 opening of Dodger Stadium, when it was on display at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America headquarters building downtown. The model shows the same pastel color palette as when Dodger Stadium opened and was in Walter O’Malley’s office until 1979.
A unique collection of four autographed baseballs from each of Sandy Koufax’s no-hitters is also on display in the exhibit. Hall of Fame Dodger pitcher Koufax, considered the greatest left-hander of all-time, presented autographed baseballs from each of his four no-hitters in appreciation to Dodger President Walter O’Malley and his wife, Kay. On June 30, 1962, Koufax beat the New York Mets, 5-0; on May 11, 1963, he defeated the San Francisco Giants, 8-0; on June 4, 1964, he blanked the Phillies in Philadelphia, 3-0; and on September 9, 1965, he pitched a rare perfect game against the Chicago Cubs, 1-0.
“Chasing Dreams” illustrates America’s national pastime as a “pathway for American Jews and other immigrant and minority communities – including Italians, Asians, Latinos, and African Americans – to become American.” The show was organized and travels from the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, PA and the Skirball has added a local exhibit, including more Dodger memorabilia – jerseys from Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo, as well as the warm-up jacket of Fernando Valenzuela and Jackie Robinson’s 1947 Rookie of the Year Award.
The Skirball Cultural Center is the 12th museum in which artifacts from the O’Malley family collection has been exhibited since 2002. Objects from the collection have been displayed at three Presidential Libraries and Museums (including Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and George W. Bush), as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York and the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame in Tokyo.