FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 08, 2017
Oct. 8, 1957 - Dodgers announce relocation to Los Angeles
October 8, 1957 – On this date, Walter O’Malley announced the stockholders of the Dodger organization had approved and would accept an invitation to relocate to the city of Los Angeles. In terms of being a game changer, this changed a lot of games. Within 11 years, the state of California in 1957 that had no Major League Baseball teams, would have five teams at the start of the 1969 season. Sports Illustrated magazine in 2004 would rank the re-location of the Dodgers to Los Angeles and the Giants to San Francisco as the second most significant tipping point in sports in the magazine’s history.
It is likely no team ever spent more time and energy to privately build and finance a sports stadium. As early as 1946, Walter O’Malley, then a co-owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, initiated plans for the design of a new stadium. The designing and financing portion would be handled effectively by the team, but in the case of available land in Brooklyn, according to the critically acclaimed “City of Dreams,” the 2017 book by Jerald Podair, “Any road to that new stadium (in Brooklyn) would run through the good offices of (Parks Commissioner) Robert Moses. Moses as portrayed by author Robert Caro in the book, “The Power Broker” determined the success or failure of any building project in New York City.
O’Malley made it clear he would pay the costs to build a new stadium and for the land in Brooklyn and sold off significant assets of the team in order to do so. He and his staff knew they had a terrific site for a baseball stadium at the location of Atlantic and Flatbush in Brooklyn because of the nearby transportation outlets. Ironically, the Atlantic and Flatbush site O’Malley preferred would be the location of the current Barclays Center arena there. However, at a critical time of the discussion, Commissioner Moses balked at assembling sufficient land for a baseball stadium and offered only to provide land in the borough of Flushing, not Brooklyn, a move that would force the team from their home base to another place and lacked at that time sufficient transportation elements. As late as September, 1957, O’Malley thoroughly considered a financial offer to help the team build a stadium and remain in Brooklyn, but after careful review, he decided the offer would be wholly inadequate to the task.
The move of the Dodger organization was not made alone by the club. Rosalind Wyman, the youngest woman in Los Angeles City Council history, had campaigned for her election for Major League Baseball in 1953 and her support locally for the Dodgers in 1957 was vital to the effort. The National League required two teams to be involved if there was to be a move to the West Coast and the vote for the motion would have to be unanimous, which they did. While the Giants in August, 1957, announced they would move to San Francisco, O’Malley continued to negotiate for an opportunity to build a new baseball stadium in Brooklyn. Only in October, 1957 when he was left with no alternatives to remaining in Brooklyn, could he fully consider the re-location of the Dodgers to Los Angeles.
The Dodgers would find great success, on and off the field, in Los Angeles. They would win three World Series from 1958 to 1965, and Dodger Stadium would become a national icon for its beauty and functionality. O’Malley’s leadership and that of his son Peter, of the Los Angeles Dodger organization would become a model for performance in sports and American business.
The movement of two Major League Baseball teams would open America west of the Mississippi River to the concept of more teams and more leagues and change for the far better, the enjoyment of more persons to American sports.
About Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida
“A Florida Heritage Landmark”
World-famous Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida is a multi-sport, 80-acre complex on Florida’s Treasure Coast managed by former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley in a partnership since 2012. O’Malley, whose family developed and expanded the site formerly known as “Dodgertown” for nearly 50 years, partnered with his sister Terry O’Malley Seidler and former Dodger star pitchers Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo.
On November 10, 2014, Historic Dodgertown was named a Florida Heritage Landmark for its unique historic significance extending beyond baseball, as the first completely integrated Spring Training site in the South. The “Baseball and Dodgertown” historical marker is located at the entrance to the conference center.
The home of Dodger Spring Trainings from 1948-2008, it was the starting place for six World Championships and 14 N.L. Pennant-winning teams. Numerous Baseball Hall of Fame players trained on these hallowed grounds, as well as 20 visits from professional teams in Asia.
The all-inclusive facility, owned by Indian River County, gives teams of all ages the unique opportunity to train, play, dine and stay together in on-site villas. Participants utilize one of 10 ½ playing fields (seven are Musco-lighted for night games), including a new cloverleaf of youth baseball/softball fields with concessions area and new multi-purpose field (110 by 130 yards) for football, soccer and lacrosse.
Other amenities include clubhouses, two full-sized weight rooms, dining room, Stadium Club lounge and a competition-size swimming pool. The home of 6,500-seat Holman Stadium, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida provides an all-encompassing experience for guests and is the ideal setting to build a championship team. It’s the perfect location for tournaments, camps, schools, business conferences and seminars.
Continuing its tradition since 1983, the Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp returned to Historic Dodgertown in November, 2014. Visit historicdodgertown.com for more information.
Ruth Ruiz, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida, (772) 257-8532