The Dodgers Move West

The Dodgers Move West

3.54 (33 ratings by Goodreads)
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For many New Yorkers one of the most traumatic events since World War II was the removal of the Brooklyn Dodgers, one of the most popular baseball teams of all time, to Los Angeles in 1958. In this controversial new look at a story that has reached almost mythic proportions in its many retellings, Neil Sullivan shifts responsibility for the move onto the local government manueverings that occurred on both sides of the continent.Conventional wisdom has it that Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley cold-heartedly abandoned the devoted Brooklyn fans for the easy money of Los Angeles. The truth was actually more complicated. O'Malley had, in fact, wanted to stay in Brooklyn and build a new stadium. Ebbetts Field was obsolete, situated in an increasingly unsafe neighborhood and without parking facilities (it had been built in the days of the streetcar, hence the name "Dodgers"). But he was stymied by an uncooperative New York City administration spearheaded by Robert Moses who blocked O'Malley's use of an ideal site at the Atlantic Avenue Long Island Railroad terminal.A political battle over the Dodgers' move erupted in Los Angeles too. The new stadium site at Chavez Ravine, suggested by Mayor Poulson, had been designated for public housing and a bitter fight broke out over the issue. But a telethon campaign that enlisted the help of celebrities like Groucho Marx, George Burns and Ronald Reagan helped to win the referendum in favor of the deal. Despite playing until 1962 in the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the right field looked directly into the sun, the Dodgers soon bounced back winning the 1959 World Series and went on to become one of the most successful franchises in the country.Set against a backdrop of sporting passion and rivalry, and coming thirty years after the Dodgers' last season in Brooklyn, this engrossing book offers new insights into the workings of power in the nation's two largest cities. It ends by drawing important conclusions about the proper relationship between sports franchises and the public more

Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 160.02 x 233.68 x 25.4mm | 498.95g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195043669
  • 9780195043662

Review Text

A well-told tale of two cities and one professional sports franchise. Nearly three decades after the fact, most baseball fans remain convinced that Walter O'Malley, late owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, callously abandoned the National League club's loyal rooters for personal gain in Los Angeles. As this revisionist account makes clear, however, there was quite a bit more to the story, and O'Malley was far from the villain of the piece. Indeed, Sullivan (Public Administration/CUNY) shows that O'Malley wanted to stay in the New York City borough and build a new stadium there. Located in a decaying neighborhood, fabled Ebbetts Field lacked parking facilities - and the seatting capacity to generate revenues sufficient to keep the team competitive. Only after being frustrated by local pols and power brokers like Robert Moses did O'Malley run the risk of decamping for Southern California. What's more, O'Malley had to go into extra innings to get what he'd been promised in L.A. Chavez Ravine, the site proposed by Mayor Norris Poulson for the Dodgers' privately funded ballpark, had been earmarked for public housing. A bitter debate erupted over this issue; it took a telethon campaign featuring such celebrities as George Burns, Groucho Marx, and Ronald Reagan to win the referendum that finally put paid to the controversy. Just two years after making the bicoastal move, though, the baseball team (forced to play home games for five long seasons in the vast, oddly contoured Coliseum) won the 1959 World Series; the well-managed club went on to become one of the most consistently successful enterprises in all of pro sports. The box score: an engrossing, persuasively documented inquiry that offers object lessons in civics (e.g., the high cost of raids on municipal treasuries by franchise owners) while rehabilitating the reputation of a genuine risk-taking capitalist long perceived - and portrayed - as a bloated plutocrat. The text includes 12 pages of black-and-white photos (not seen). (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

33 ratings
3.54 out of 5 stars
5 12% (4)
4 39% (13)
3 39% (13)
2 9% (3)
1 0% (0)
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