Wyatt: Understanding Mr. O’Malley

From Daniel Wyatt at The National Pastime Museum on January 5, 2014:

Walter O’Malley was many things to many people. A mover and a shaker. A shrewd capitalist. A visionary. The most powerful owner in baseball. And a man with enough stones to move the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958, giving him access to the third largest American city, thus making Major League Baseball a true national sport. From then on, O’Malley was loved in LA and despised in Brooklyn.

To the passionate Brooklyn fans: Who were the three most hated persons of the twentieth century? Answer . . . Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Walter O’Malley. If a Brooklyn man was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and O’Malley, but had only two bullets in his gun, what would he do? Answer . . . shoot O’Malley twice.

Born on October 9, 1903, in Bronx, New York, to an Irish-Catholic family, Walter Francis O’Malley was a 1930 Fordham University graduate and a lawyer by trade. He joined the Brooklyn Dodgers legal department, moving up to chief legal counsel and 25 percent owner by late 1944. Another 25 percent owner was GM Branch Rickey, whom O’Malley often fought with tooth-and-nail, such as Rickey’s lavish spending on the team’s Vero Beach, Florida spring training facility, and his purchase of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the All-America Football Conference, a league that collapsed after four years.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/understanding-mr-omalley

Originally published: January 5, 2015. Last Updated: January 5, 2015.