Saturday, March 27, 2010

Walter O'Malley and William McNally

"Was Walter O'Malley---who in 1957 decided to move the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles---one of the most evil men who ever lived, alongside Hitler and Stalin?"
From a NY Times book review of Michael D'Antonio's Forever Blue: The True Story of Walter O'Malley.

I'd imagine William Henry Conrad DeKalb McNally would answer in the affirmative.

The Dodgers last game in Brooklyn was September 24, 1957.

Grandpa died February 5, 1960.

Simple cause and effect. My mother was sure that Walter O'Malley killed her father.

"That summer, I joined thousands of fans signing petitions imploring O'Malley, city officials, and anyone who might help to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn. I attended a clamourous 'Keep the Dodgers' rally in the city. And I wrote a long, personal letter to O'Malley, begging him to consider what the move would do to the community and all the fans."  Doris Kearns Goodwin who was 14 at the time.

My memories of my grandfather are tied up in Dodger history. We visited him in the summers. I recall him sitting in his chair, Rheingold at hand, his cigar almost as terrifying as the look on his face if we made enough noise to drown out the game. (This may have been ANY noise.) Was he listening on the radio or watching on television? 


"For some people, the departure was an immense wound, a betrayal, a rejection. Walter O’Malley, the Dodger owner, had played with our emotions, made fools of us, and some people never forgave him. I didn’t go to another major league baseball game for twelve years; my father, an Irish immigrant made into an American by baseball, lived another 28 years and never entered a single ballpark."

"I erased baseball from my life that year. I wouldn't read about it. I didn't watch a single game on television...Like most Giant and Dodger fans I could never root for the Yankees."
Pete Hamill who was 22 at the time.

August 1940
Buddy, Jackie & Grandpa
The puppy may be Smoky. 

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