Homage to a Horsehide Visionary
Class of 26 and 59 | To this day, there is a fading legion of New York baseball fans who scowl at the mention of the late Walter OMalley C26the man who, after buying the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950, moved the beloved Bums to Los Angeles in 1958. For Los AngeleŇos, of course, the image is quite differentOMalley brought them one of the most successful, fan-friendly franchises in the world; built a beautiful, privately financed stadium; and opened up the American West for baseball.
Both sidesand anyone remotely interested in baseball history and the business of sportsshould check out www.walteromalley.com, a new website devoted to the legacy of OMalley, whom ABC Sports ranked as one of the 10 Most Influential People off the field in sports history. The 800-page site is the brainchild of his son, Peter OMalley W59, who succeeded him as president of the Dodgers in 1970 until 1998, although the elder OMalley stayed on as CEO until his death in 1979.
This site allows us to centralize my Dads story for baseball fans from around the world, said Peter OMalley. We plan to include more moments of historical significance as this work-in-progress continues. Baseball was not a hobby, but his full-time career and passion.
In addition to the lengthy biographywhich chronicles, among other things, OMalleys unsuccessful efforts to procure land for a new stadium in Brooklynthe site is a trove of more than 1,000 photographs, letters, video and audio clips, and memorabilia, including articles from The Pennsylvanian reporting OMalleys elections as president of the junior and senior classes at Penn. OMalleys visionary emphasis on appealing to a multicultural audience is reflected in the fact that the website can be read in English, Spanish, and Japanese.
In the end, even those old die-hard Brooklyn Dodger fans would have to reconsider their enmity. As Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray wrote when OMalley died in 1979: Ted Williams might have had the vision to see a ball curving 60 feet ahead, but Walter OMalley had the vision to see three decades ahead He brought the game kicking and screaming into the 20th century.S.H.
2004 The Pennsylvania Gazette
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