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COAST TO COAST: MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL’S TRANSITION TO THE WEST SEEN
THROUGH THE GIANTS AND DODGERS’ RIVALRY
Kat Coykendall...
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As the 1950’s ushered in a new era of culture previously unseen in America, people
began to pack their bags to move out ...
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conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations is
declared to be illega...
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  1. 1. COAST TO COAST: MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL’S TRANSITION TO THE WEST SEEN THROUGH THE GIANTS AND DODGERS’ RIVALRY Kat Coykendall HIS499: Senior Project April 14th, 2016
  2. 2. 2 As the 1950’s ushered in a new era of culture previously unseen in America, people began to pack their bags to move out West following the glitz and glamour of the Pacific Coast. The nation saw the frequent use of transportation such as airplanes and automobiles which played a substantial role in the further diversification of the West. Demographics greatly changed the scope of the American landscape, and Major League Baseball wanted to make sure that they could capitalize on this population shift. Prior to the Cleveland Rams’ move to California, no other major franchise had made the extensive journey. Two teams sought to make this transition; the ball clubs in question not only were ready to take on the challenge but deeply rivaled one another. The Dodgers hailed from Brooklyn, which prided itself on its immigrant fan base and affordable tickets while the New York Giants resided in the Manhattan area where the money supply never seem to find an end. In these distinct fan bases, each team found their identity in their surroundings. One team wore blue and the other wore orange, nothing could change the divide found within the Empire State. To relocate a franchise from one market to another requires an immense amount of paperwork and an equal agreement between both locations in order to move. The Dodgers saw the National Football League make their transition in 1946 and knew that they would be the next batters up to plate. In the name of a rivalry, the Giants began to spark interest in the Golden State. Both teams faced great adversity to leave and would have to build innovative stadiums in their new locations, requiring a large financial support. Expanding America’s game across the country helped outweigh the risks both ball clubs saw in moving from one coast to another. The MLB plays an interesting role in the construct of business operations in the United States as they are exempt under any antitrust regulation especially that under Sherman Antitrust Act, Section 1 which states that “every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or
  3. 3. 3 conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations is declared to be illegal."1 The league is immune from any prosecution under the dictation of the act as it is seen as merely a joint venture as seen in the initial ruling in 1951 by the Supreme Court.2 It is also seen as legal as each team acts as a single entity, there are no grounds for illegal activity as it does not operate through interstate commerce as outlined in the Act itself. With this form of exemption, the league was able to establish its own territorial rules beyond the jurisdiction of the court system. First enacted in 1876, a team had control of an area within a five mile radius of their city with the creation of the National League. With the addition of the American League in 1903, owners then saw the importance of such legislation as it would protect their best interest. The league loosely implemented these rules as teams moved from place to place within their region. They did not see major strife till discussions for the possibility of opening the Los Angeles market. To object such a proposal, the league cited rule 1(c) stating that “the circuit of either Major League shall not be changed to include any city in the circuit of the other Major League except by the unanimous consent of the clubs constituting both Major Leagues.”3 These territorial rules were updated after the league’s expansion in 1960 so that more power would be granted to the individual clubs. These new rules stated that “National League determined territories to be 10 miles beyond a team’s city limits, while the American League established a one hundred mile radius around a team’s home ballpark. Each league required a three-fourths 1 Marinelli Jr., Arthur J. "Baseball and the Antitrust Laws." American Business Law Journal,1972: 69-72, 69. 2 Roberts, Gary R. "Sports Leagues and the Sherman Act: The Use and Abuse Of Section 1 to Regulate Restraints On Intraleague Rivalry." UCLA Law Review, 1984: 219. 3 Nagel, Mark, Matt Brown, Daniel Rascher, and Chad McEvoy. "Major League Baseball Anti-Trust Immunity: Examining the Legal and Financial Implications of Relocation Rules." Munich Personal RePEc Archive, 2006: 1- 38, 16.
  4. 4. 4 vote to permit a team to move, but neither league could stop the other from relocating into the other’s territory”4 Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick, known for his pushover antics, allowed for owners to run rampant. Growing up as a journalist, Frick pushed for national television contracts for the sport but lost player support as he refused to speak upon player pensions. His impact as a commissioner of the MLB was that of “a pliant tool’ of the increasingly powerful owners who employed him. Instead of confronting issues such as labor relations, television, and expansion, “he allowed the owners to run amok.”5 Often seen as a pawn among owners, he offered Los Angeles and New York as open territories for ball clubs to operate in at the conclusion of the season. This caused tension among the territories as the Dodgers sought to occupy a region owned by the Los Angeles Angels, ensuing future discussion for stadium agreements for both teams. This “Open City” policy enacted by Frick only allowed for Dodger’s owner Walter O’Malley to operate in the Los Angeles market rather than for it to actually be available for all owners for possible inquiry.6 O’Malley was able to move his team out of Brooklyn by demanding things New York politicians were unable to meet which would include a venue that would bring in great attendance numbers in the heart of the city and a place for them to park their cars. His proposal, made in the summer of 1955, demanded “a new stadium and 2,500-car garage at the junction of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, major arteries between downtown and the central and eastern 4 Ibid, 19. 5 Ankney, Raymond, and John Carvalho. "Haunted by the Babe: Baseball Comissioner Ford Frick's Columns about Babe." American JournalismHistorians Association,2008: 65-82, 71. 6 Veeck, Bill, and Ed Linn. Veeck--As In Wreck: The Autobiography ofBill Veeck. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962, 360.
  5. 5. 5 parts of the borough...thus no matter where Dodger fans lived, they would have easy access to O’Malley’s park...he asked the city of New York to condemn the land at its assessed value, clear it, and sell it back to him.”7 Prior to the move, both the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers experienced a high volume in fan attendance from 1946-1957, as each team saw on average over one million fans. This greatly changed in the 1950’s due in part to “the combination of the location of the teams’ stadiums in deteriorating slum neighborhoods, movement of middle-class white fans to new suburbs, insufficient automobile parking, and vast increases in television viewing...Dodgers’ attendance declined from 1.8 million to 1 million and the Giants’ attendance fell from 1.6 million to only 650,000.”8 Owners sought out new stadiums to combat the low attendance but were denied by their local governments. O’Malley saw the potential in moving his team out West especially as Los Angeles City Clerk Walter C. Peterson sent documentation that had formally declared the city’s openness to bringing in a MLB franchise, convincing Giants’ owner Horace Stoneham to do the same. Stoneham did not feel as opportunistic as O’Malley in regards to uprooting his team to such a distance, stating that “I feel bad for the kids. I’ve seen lots of them at the Polo Grounds. But I haven’t seen many of their fathers lately.”9 Stoneham was the first to think of moving the team to a new location, but nothing was placed into action until O’Malley had convinced him otherwise. O’Malley was a different type of owner in comparison to those in the league. He “was not the sort to wait for events to fold around him. He was not like his rival Horace Stoneham ... (who) was an owner by way of inheritance, a rich boy with too great a 7Goldblatt, Andrew. The Giants and the Dodgers: Four Cities,Two Teams, One Rivalry. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Comapny, Inc. Publishers, 2003, 137. 8 Powers, Albert Theodore. The Business of Baseball. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003, 124.. 9 Ibid, 126.
  6. 6. 6 fondness for Dewar’s White Label scotch...Stoneham talked about moving his team out of New York altogether...but he was a man whose talk did not merit serious attention. He was not a mover.”10 O’Malley’s plan to move west was extremely calculated. He set out for his team to get a new stadium, knowing that his mind was made up to relocate to another market rather than to stay in Brooklyn. Mayor Robert Wagner and parks commissioner Robert Moses tried to appease the owner by offering him land in nearby Queens. O’Malley then made it a point to the world of baseball that he was to get what he wanted. The following season, the Dodgers were scheduled for multiple home games in nearby Jersey City at Roosevelt Stadium, which was historically known as Giants territory, and O’Malley claimed ownership to the Los Angeles market with his purchase of the Angels franchise within in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. To strengthen his argument, he brought Stoneham on board which would be of great value as teams would be able to financially benefit from playing multiple teams in the area after expensing the cost taken to travel west. Unbeknownst to fans and players, Stoneham had originally thought of relocating the Giants as well stating that, “I had intended to move out of New York even before I knew Mr. O'Malley was intending to move... I had intended to go to Minneapolis. We had a [Class AAA] ball club there, and so I had the rights to the area. ... And then Walter called up and said, 'why don't we go to the Far West together?’”11 The players and fans were stunned with this decision. They had grown so accustomed to seeing their team play right in their backyard and saw that greed would be placed higher than their loyalty in terms of ownership. Baseball saw that “we were stunned, the greater gloom 10 Shapiro, Michael. The Last Good Season:Brooklyn,the Dodgers, and their Final Pennant Race Together . New York: DoubleDay, 2003, 13. 11 Heller, Dick. "In '57, final days of summer moved New York." Washington Times, The (DC), May 28, 2007.
  7. 7. 7 settled over Brooklyn. For years, a love affair had existed between the Dodgers and their boisterous fans. And to that many others around the country knew that the Dodgers were Brooklyn, particularly after they brought integration to the Major Leagues with Robinson in 1957.”12 California native and Dodgers’ center-fielder, Duke Snider not only felt the immense sense of community felt in Brooklyn but knew what he would miss the most playing in New York. He noted that “the people of Brooklyn had become more than just neighbors. They were like family, and the thought of leaving them was a sad one...Worst of all, there would be no more Ebbets Field. No more fans screaming at 'Dem Bums' and calling my roommate [Carl Erskine] 'Oisk' and me 'Dook.'"13 Ebbets Field defined the Brooklyn Dodgers, and truly embodied the fan base creating an atmosphere unseen by any other baseball team prior. Named after team accountant turned into team owner, Charles Ebbets, the field first opened its doors in 1913. The field brought a radically diverse neighborhood together in community, all striving for the same thing, a Dodger win. The fans breathed life into the stadium filling each game with people from all different walks of life. The fans “represented a kaleidoscope of ethnicity...nowhere was the borough more unified than within Ebbets Field...Baseball provided a common language as the Dodgers united the borough from high society millionaires in Brooklyn Heights to working class families...Brooklynites fused behind the Dodgers, building a collective identity through the emperors of Ebbets Field. One nation under God. One borough under blue.”14 The most definitive mark of the Dodger fan base was the Dodgers Sym-phony which was a small group of performers who set out to rally the spirits of players and fellow fans. Later endorsed by O’Malley who gave them permanent seats 12 Ibid. 13 Snider, Duke. The Duke of Flatbush. New York: Citadel Press Books, 2002. 14 Krell, David. "Our Bums": The Brooklyn Dodgers in History, Memory and Popular Culture. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015, 16-17.
  8. 8. 8 and supported them during labor disputes livened the spirits of the team. It gave the borough its identity as “few parks have ever created a tighter bond between fans and team than did Ebbets Field. Through the years that the ‘Bums’ played in front of them, Brooklyn’s fans became almost as well known as the players.”15 The team’s name even reflected its location and fan base as people from Brooklyn were often referred to as Trolley Dodgers. These Brooklynites would dart out, narrowly passing an oncoming traffic of cars, horses, and through a lattice work of trolleys that frequently circled the mini-metropolis. Ultimately, to be from Brooklyn meant to be a Bum and there was simply no questioning one’s loyalty. It “was Brooklyn against the world. They were not only complete fanatics, but they knew baseball like the fans of no other city. It was exciting to place to play there...there was an infancy about Ebbets Field that you do not forget...if you are a starting pitcher, you warmed up in front of the dugout before the game, not in the bullpen. You felt as though the fans were right on top of you, because they almost were. It was a carnival atmosphere, small and always jumping.”16 Being a Dodger fan was a way of life, no questions asked. People lived and breathed the Dodger blue. They hated the idea of their team leaving the beloved city of Brooklyn, the Bums had found their niche and O’Malley was out to move the team purely in the name of greed and power. As the team announced that they were leaving “a jubilant Mayor (of Los Angeles Norris) Poulson declared victory. ‘At long last we’ve got the Dodgers!’...in Brooklyn, by contrast, there were scenes of morning. In bars, on street corners, and in private homes. Walter O’Malley was condemned as a traitor to the city, and New York City authorities were excoriated for their failure to provide enough financial aid to build a new stadium...everywhere there was a sense of loss.”17 The only remembrance of the Bums after 15 Buckley Jr., James. Classic Ballparks. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2004, 73-77. 16 Krell, David. "Our Bums": The Brooklyn Dodgers in History, Memory and Popular Culture. 2015, 13. 17 Laslett, John H.M. Sahme Victory: The Los Angeles Dodgers, the red Scare, and the Hidden History of Chavez Ravine. Tucson:University of Arizona Press, 2015, 108.
  9. 9. 9 their move to the West Coast would be the name itself as when “O’Malley arrived in Los Angeles that the Los Angeles incarnation of his baseball team would be known by the same name it had used for eighty-one years in Brooklyn. There were no trolleys in Los Angeles. But the team would be the Dodgers just the same.”18 The Giants sang a different song, after experiencing World Series wins in 1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, and 1954 the team saw a decline in their fan base. A move would revamp attendance numbers and with the approval of San Francisco Mayor George Christopher they would be guaranteed a new stadium. Polo Grounds, located in Manhattan, served originally as a polo field upon its construction in 1883 and became the original home of the Giants in 1891. The field itself was configured differently than any other park in baseball history, “a rather odd shape, much like a bathtub or a race course. Though less than three hundred feet to each outfield corner, it plunged to nearly five hundred in dead center field. The park had one of the largest outfields ever, and also featured extensive foul territory... (it) wasn’t a battlefield, it was a pasture. Its center field was almost as deep as two Fenway Park fields put together.”19 Polo Grounds had a capacity of fifty-six thousand but failed to fill the stadium, seeing an attendance rate of seven hundred thousand people in the team’s final two seasons. Partnered with low winning seasons (sixty-seven wins in 1956 and sixty-nine wins in 1957), helped provide ample motivation for the team’s relocation in the eyes of Stoneham. He believed “that to keep his team in New York would be stupid, that he was losing money, with declining attendance. Giants fans, of course, upset with the pending move, complained that to expect bigger crowds to watch a mediocre team 18 Shapiro, Michael. The Last Good Season:Brooklyn,the Dodgers, and their Final Pennant Race Together, 322. 19 Buckley Jr., James. Classic Ballparks. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2004, 15.
  10. 10. 10 was asking too much...his Giants had fallen to dead last in the National League in attendance...and this was in New York of all places, with more fans to tap from.”20 The city of San Francisco was ready to accept a major league club of their own, first promoting the idea in 1953 as they put forth a campaign to start what they had set out to accomplish. They wanted to establish themselves on the national stage and believed that acquiring a baseball team would so just the trick. The following November, the city and its voters approved a five million dollar bond to build a new stadium backed by an overwhelming majority. Following the success of the city’s minor league team, the San Francisco Seals who brought in more fans than many major league franchises, they were ready to expanded baseball farther than anyone had ever expected. Their dreams began to turn into a reality under Christopher who made it one of his highest priorities while holding office. After speaking with Poulson three days after Christopher’s inauguration as mayor, both cities would offer full support to each other giving them a better chance of bringing two teams to the West Coast. When interviewing with Stoneham, the mayor had three goals in mind, “1. Convincing him that San Francisco’s climate and love of competition would nourish major league baseball. 2. Convincing him we could build a ten million dollar stadium with the five million dollars we had available from a bond issue. 3. Convincing him the potential was greater in San Francisco than in Minneapolis, where the Giants already owned the minor league territory and had a 24,000- capacity stadium.”21 Just as O’Malley penned the deal with Poulson and the city of Los Angeles, the people of San Francisco were confident that they would follow suit, a natural continuation of the infamous rivalry seen between the two cities. The city by the bay was the exact fit that 20 Bitker, Steve. The Original San Francisco Giants: The Giants of '58. Champaign, Illinois: Sports Publishing Inc., 1998, 3. 21Christopher, George. "The Mayor of San Francisco tells: How We Won the Giants." The Milwaukee Sentinel, September 22, 1957: 8-9, 18.
  11. 11. 11 Stoneham needed to return on his investment. They offered him a new stadium, a booming minor league team close in proximity, and a place that would welcome them with open arms along with high attendance which his team had not seen in a while. Christopher often recalls bringing the Giants to San Francisco as one of his proudest moments as “representing such a city and winning a campaign for her is a happy moment for me. And, I confess, a personal thrill. As, a youngster I played second base on a semi-professional team...my goal, believe it or not, was the Polo Grounds...now the Giants are coming to us the people of San Francisco. This baseball project has been refreshing, even though anxious, I enjoyed the frank, arguments, the open-heartedness with which we did business.”22 After meeting with Christopher, Stoneham believed that moving to San Francisco would be the best option for his team; following O’Malley who had just finalized his deal with Poulson and the city of Los Angeles. The mayors sought to bring the two teams over as a group effort and communicated as such. In telegram sent by Christopher to Poulson, the mayor of San Francisco states that “we desire to give you our fullest support and hope you will be successful in your mission. We consider this practically a joint venture and know that if you are successful San Francisco also will receive Major League Baseball. You may speak for us and we join you in your plea on behalf of Los Angeles. Count on us for full support.”23 The state of New York was sad to see half of their team leave the state but wondered how successful the two franchises would be in different markets. They had watched the two grow and develop over the decades but wondered how they would fair in cities that were currently building notoriety. People often commented on the move saying that “at first glance it seemed that O’Malley had taken the better baseball town 22 Ibid, 8-9, 18. 23 Poulson, Norris, telegram sent by George Christopher. (March 2, 1957).
  12. 12. 12 for himself and had given Horace the leavings. But San Francisco is much more likely to prove a solid franchise than Los Angeles.”24 Such a rivalry would find a way to transition to the West Coast, even members of the coaching staff saw this to be true, “We used to hate them, and still do. It’ll carry over if the Dodgers wind up in Los Angeles next season.’ Giants’ manager Bill Rigney was taking a moment to reflect on the rivalry as the clubs played against each other for the last time on the East Coast. Hate is a strong word, but there were few signs of love between the Dodgers and Giants in the early years on the West Coast.”25 The two teams so greatly differed from each other, not even a move across the country could divert them from their feelings toward each other. What could be black and orange could not be blue and white. It was simply the law of the land and everyone knew it. Giants shortstop and second baseman Daryl Spencer once commented that “the thing I thought the most when we knew the Giants were going to move to move to San Francisco was that we were going to lose the New York-Brooklyn rivalry...there was nothing like the Giants and Dodgers back in New York...you hated those guys. The Giants and Dodgers almost never made a trade back in those days. You never made a trade with the Dodgers because the guy would come back to haunt you.”26 Famed Brooklyn Dodger second baseman, Jackie Robinson who helped integrate the sport, decided that after ten years in Major League Baseball he would retire in 1956 after learning that he was to be traded to the New York Giants. Nothing that was ever blue could be orange and that is how it was to be. Such a rivalry also encompassed the traditional tension seen between the two cities. It even served as a source 24 Smith, Maureen M. "From 'The Finest Ballpark in America' to 'The Jewel of the Waterfront': The Construction of San Francisco's Major League Baseball Stadium." In The Rise of Stadiums in the Modern United States: Cathedrals of Sport,by Mark Dyreson and Robert Trumpbour, 110-128. New York: Routledge, 2010, 113. 25 Konte, Joe. The Rivalry Heard 'Round the World: The Dodgers-Giants Feud from Coast to Coast. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2013, 25. 26 Bitker, Steve. The Original San Francisco Giants: The Giants of '58, 167.
  13. 13. 13 of motivation for bringing the ball clubs to the Pacific as “San Francisco’s efforts to attract a Major League team were inexorably linked to the efforts of Los Angeles to pursue a team, pitting rival California cities against each other in a contest for civic status...if Los Angeles proceeds with construction of a park we must keep pace. We don’t want that city to get the jump on us.”27 Even when transitioning, the teams would take different perspectives on their West Coast inaugural teams. The newly San Francisco Giants “opted for a youth movement, featuring rookies who would garner much playing time...the hope was that the invigoration of youth and a mix of some holdover veterans from New York would be the perfect blend, built around the brilliance of center fielder Willie Mays.”28 The Los Angeles Dodgers sought to bring back the memories of the old, the ones that their die-hard fans truly cherished as the “management wished to let Los Angeles fans enjoy the old-time Brooklyn standouts, and brought out a team with fifth- year manager Walter Alston that resembled their 1955 world championship year...it was a plan that Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley would later question himself.”29 The Giants and Dodgers would continue their rivalry on the opposite side of the country and was completely solidified as San Francisco plastered billboards all across the city reading “Welcome SF Giants, Swat Them Bums,” though the locations of each team had changed, the spirit of rivalry still swirled around in the fog and smog of the two metropolitan cities. While both teams waited to play in their new stadiums as promised, the Giants played at Seals Stadium which housed the minor league team from 1931-1957 in the Mission District of the city on Bryant and 16th Street. This location was significant to baseball as “this particular plot 27 Smith, Maureen M. "From 'The Finest Ballpark in America' to 'The Jewel of the Waterfront': The Construction of San Francisco's Major League Baseball Stadium." In The Rise of Stadiums in the Modern United States: Cathedrals of Sport,by Mark Dyreson and Robert Trumpbour, 110-128, 2010, 112. 28 Ibid, 25. 29 Ibid, 25-26.
  14. 14. 14 of land was chosen because it was located in one of the warmest belts of the city, relatively free of fog during the summer, and just a five minute drive or a twenty to thirty minute walk from downtown.”30 The wildly successful San Francisco Seals, as part of the Pacific Coast League, knew that their time in the city was coming to a close at the end of the 1957 season. In their final season, the team brought in 344, 641 fans as they watched their Seals win the pennant. The fans were bittersweet in seeing the minor league team leave just to be replaced by a major league ball club. The final game was to be remembered as “a day of nostalgic sadness...filled with tears from fans having to say good-bye...but also filled with joy and anticipation from others looking forward to the arrival of the Giants.”31 They had mixed feelings about the entire ordeal. They were able to see a strong minor league team develop within their city only to be moved by an unsuccessful franchise from the opposite side of the country. Fans even make their opinions heard as “seventy-three year old retired fire veteran William Peterson told the Chronicle ‘it’s a sad day. I’ve seen the Seals from the first and now the last, and, well, I’d like to have gone on seeing them until I die.’ Another said, ‘the Giants are no good back there, so we’re bringing ‘em out here. What is this, a dumping ground?”32 Seals Stadium was considered to be one of the smallest stadiums in the majors, seating 23,600 with the Giants’ addition of 2,600 seats to house the increased attendance. The team would do little alterations to the stadium which included “keeping the stadium’s roomy dimensions intact they’ll be no cheap home runs this year. It’s 365 feet to the left, 355 to the right and 410 to dead center field...it will cost the Giants $125,000 plus five cent of gross revenues after paying admission taxes and visiting teams to rent the stadium from owner Paul Fagan.”33 This greatly differed from that of the Polo Grounds as it measured 30 Bitker, Steve. The Original San Francisco Giants: The Giants of '58, 9. 31 Ibid, 11. 32 Ibid, 11. 33 The Victoria Advocate. "San Francisco Park Smallest in Majors." February 20, 1958: 13.
  15. 15. 15 “left field: 277 feet, left-center field: 450 feet, center field: 433 feet, right-center field: 445 feet, right field: 257 feet.”34 The Giants saw immediate success at the former minor league stadium, hitting over forty-five home runs in the first nineteen games.35 The Giants eagerly waited for their long awaited Candlestick Park. The way of the new San Francisco fans caught the attention of New York reporters who wrote, “the general consensus of the visiting newsmen is that the new Giant fans have big-league maturity....it is sad for most of the old Giants fans to see their team depart, but the wrench is eased to know that it has a new home in the city which keeps alive the spirit of old New York in which the Giants prospered.”36 Seals Stadium quickly brought in fans from all over the Bay Area, establishing their residency on the West Coast. The team shattered the attendance numbers seen at the Polo Grounds in the early July. Fans demanded to watch the newly relocated team and management took note of this as a large majority of games had been completely sold out before the throwing out of the first pitch on Opening Day. San Francisco had become the perfect fit for the Giants, just as Christopher had promised. Rigney saw this change firsthand as he not only played in New York but managed the team during the transition and stated that “the name ‘Giants,’ even though it’s embedded in all of us, for our lifetimes, will never be the same, because it will have a new definition, a new identity...the city of San Francisco, for the most part, really embraced us...this became their own...and I think the move gave the people not only a new identity with a major league team here but also a new group players for them to follow.”37 As the team readjusted to all that there was to offer on the West Coast, the games were reconstructed so that fans on the East Coast could still listen in live 34 Buckley Jr., James. Classic Ballparks. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 2004. 35Eugene Register-Guard. "45 Home Runs Hit At Seals Stadium." May 9, 1958: 4B. 36 Bitker, Steve. The Original San Francisco Giants: The Giants of '58, 15. 37 Bitker, Steve. The Original San Francisco Giants: The Giants of '58, 48-52.
  16. 16. 16 at normal game time in comparison to the Dodgers who continued to play at their regularly scheduled time and broadcasted in New York around 11pm. In rivalry fashion, the Dodgers had a much different experience in their stadium transition. Originally, the team planned to play in Wrigley Field, the twenty two thousand seat stadium recently vacated by the Los Angeles Angels but after careful consideration between Los Angeles County Supervisor and O’Malley it was decided that the team would play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for four seasons which had also hosted the USC Trojans, Los Angeles Rams, UCLA Bruins, and the Los Angeles Chargers simultaneously; the one hundred thousand seat arena was most prominently known for its football and track events. The Coliseum proved to be something not made for the sport of baseball. Snider often remarked that “Sure, it was great for drawing big crowds, but that wasn't good baseball or real baseball people were watching, because it wasn't a baseball field. They just slapped it in, dimension-wise. I mean, you would have thought that the powers that be would have sat down with some of the players to discuss the dimensions, but that was left up to Mr. [Walter] O'Malley and his group.”38 The stadium measured 250 feet at left field, 420 at center, 301 at right field and 66 at the backstop. The media often criticized the park, especially writers out of New York who were still harboring deep feelings against the move. They believed that the field was meant for football and clearly disrespected the name of baseball. Cartoonists portrayed the infamous owner as a “toga-wearing, cigar-puffing O’Malley as David, about to sling a stone over a chain-link fence at a towering statue of Babe Ruth.”39 Even with a stadium so oddly figured, fans were still more than willing to watch their boys in blue, “there wasn’t any trouble when the new Los Angeles Dodgers looked 38 Newhan, Ross. "The Coliseum was no 'real baseball'." Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2008. 39 McCue, Andy. Mover and Shaker:Walter O'Malley, the Dodgers, and Baseball's Westward Expansion. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2014, 221.
  17. 17. 17 for customers to purchase season tickets in 1958. In fact, eager Southern California baseball fans were willing to pay for their packages in advance, rather than through an installment plan as was the custom in Brooklyn.”40 The team even saw a $750,000 gain due in part to advanced ticket sales. Fans were excited to see baseball extend out to the West Coast, supporting their team as they finished their inaugural season in seventh place. As the team continued to play in the Coliseum, their luck began to turn around as they won the World Series over the Chicago White Sox in front over ninety-two thousand fans; something that had been previously unseen in Major League Baseball. Management eagerly awaited the completion of Dodger Stadium located on Chavez Ravine as promised by Mayor Poulson and Proposition B. Prior to the team’s relocation to the West, the city of Los Angeles was deciding the fate of the Chavez Ravine, to whether or not it should be used as public housing. The land, which had a close proximity to the downtown area of the city, was used to house a vibrant Mexican- American community but the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the housing contract which would allocate the ravine for public housing was in fact illegal. Poulson was against the formation of such housing authorities, and vowed for its end during his election in 1953. Later in the year, “the housing authority sold 170 acres of Chavez Ravine to the City of Los Angeles for $1.25 million, a loss to the federal government of more than $4 million. Congress authorized this sale on the condition that the city was to use this land ‘for public purposes only’...on October 7, 1957, the city council approved a resolution to transfer Chavez Ravine to the Dodgers.”41 Such resolution was formally known as Proposition B which initially stated that the city was to give the Dodgers three hundred acres of land in Chavez Ravine, spend two million dollars to fix the 40 Langill, Mark. Los AngelesDodgers. San Francisco: Arcadia Publishing, 2004, 19. 41 Normark, Don. ChávezRavine: 1949: A Los Angeles Story. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999, 21.
  18. 18. 18 roads surrounding the proposed land, and any excess money would be placed into a youth program under the team. In turn, the Dodgers would sell Wrigley Field to the city, build a stadium on said land, and spend less than five hundred thousand dollars on a public recreational facility that was to be owned by the team in twenty years. O’Malley immediately fell in love with land when he flew across Los Angeles and saw that it could be accessible from multiple freeways, something that the city of Brooklyn could not offer him. A referendum of such a proposition was filed in November of the same year, and later passed to be placed on the state primary ballot the following year. This legal tactic was brought to the boys in blue by the hands of the San Diego Padres who as a part of the Pacific Coast League viewed the team’s relocation as an economic threat to the Southern California market. Owner J.A. Smith led the charge because “if the Dodgers deal went forward, Smith stood to lose fans who would choose the big league over his Padres...he complained that ‘nitwit politicians’ had given O’Malley too many acres at Chavez Ravine and charged that city officials hadn’t considered the value of possible oil deposits beneath the sandy surface of the land.”42 Once the referendum was placed on the ballot, all of the people who resided in the city of Los Angeles had the final say if the Dodgers could receive the land and thus begin construction on their promised stadium or nullifying the entire contract thus leaving the Dodgers in Brooklyn. O’Malley worried about the future of his team and its position within the hands of the general public stated, “Baseball is a democratic game. I can’t say that I’m not disappointed, but I’ve got to take it now. Let’s hope and expect the referendum vote will be overwhelmingly in our favor, so there’ll be no question of Los Angeles keeping its agreement.”43 Days before the election, 42 D'Antonio, Michael. Forever Blue: The True Story of Walter O'Malley, Baseball's Most Controversial Owner, and the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009, 260. 43 Ibid, 270.
  19. 19. 19 Dodger management went on air hosting what they called as a “Dodgerthon” in hopes to raise votes for Proposition B. The five-hour broadcast on KTTV featured celebrities of the day including Lucille Ball and Ronald Reagan. The last ditch effort proved to be successful as the vote swung in O’Malley’s favor with a one percent margin at the polls on June 3, 1958. An overwhelming 62.3 percent of the city’s registered voters came to the polls, the highest numbers seen in a non-Presidential election. From there the case was brought to Los Angeles County Superior Court and overturned the vote as it was an unlawful delegation in part by the City Council. It was quickly brought to the U.S. Supreme Court which determined that the original contract was indeed valid thus permitting the stadium project to move forward. Poulson was thrilled in learning of the decision, “one world series in Los Angeles and every cent that Los Angeles has invested in this project will be repaid many times over. Progress must not be stopped in Los Angeles.”44 O’Malley also expressed his delight in the result of the legal proceedings stating that was “I am pleased that the integrity of baseball has been reaffirmed by the Supreme Court...but the decision does not mean that baseball will go along with the horse and buggy days. We must clearly recognize the changing conditions.”45 The city then had to remove the remaining twenty families that had long resolved that they would not be evacuated back when they watched their community diminish in 1952 with the city’s buying-out of the land for public use. O’Malley did not want Chavez Ravine to stop him from building his perfect stadium, he had the power to make things happen and people willing to make the moves for him as “if the poor Mexican people still living on the land did not want to move, they could be moved. And even if the land had once been designated as the site for public housing, they could 44 Avila, Eric. PopularCulture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California Press,2004. 45 Langill, Mark. "Building O'Malley's Dream Stadium." Walter O'Malley, 2003: 5.
  20. 20. 20 make statutory changes that Robert Moses would not even consider in New York...in Los Angeles, O’Malley had backers and possibilities.”46 O’Malley’s stadium planned to feature a variety of shops and attractions which served as a reflection of the bright lights of Southern California. He knew that this new stadium would encompass everything he ever could imagine. Vice President Dick Walsh stated, “Don’t ever doubt that Walter is a showman...Walter knows that baseball today demands more than three outfield walls and a covered stand. Chavez Ravine will have every innovation known to baseball and a few known only to Walter.”47 Under the order of the Vinnell Constructors of Alhambra and the architectural engineering firm of Praeger-Kavanagh-Waterbury, the construction of the 56,000 seat Dodger Stadium would begin construction on Labor Day 1960. Chavez Ravine proved to be a challenge as it featured a multitude of gullies and gulches which left the area to range between four to seven hundred feet above sea level requiring eight million cubic yards of land to even out the plot delaying the timeframe expected by O’Malley and the City of Los Angeles. The formation of the stadium proved to be a feat for baseball as a majority of it would be made out of concrete and would have multiple levels with its own adjacent parking lot, something that had been completely unheard of prior. The stadium would have a greater reinforcement than the surrounding freeways as it would use almost seven stacks of cement a yard in comparison to the four used on public roads. The dimensions of the park would greatly differ from that of the Coliseum as it would be symmetrical; correcting the most blatant problem players had to combat while playing its first four seasons in Los Angeles. The field ran 330 feet along the right and left field, 410 feet down the center, 380 to the right and left of center, making 46 Shapiro, Michael. The Last Good Season:Brooklyn,the Dodgers, and their Final Pennant Race Together, 319. 47 Langill, Mark. Dodger Stadium. San Francisco: Arcadia, 2004.
  21. 21. 21 it the perfect pitcher’s park. The first seats were installed by the American Seating Company, who would place 47,964 of the 56,000 seats on November 22, 1961 which “was one of the largest single stadium installations in history. If placed side by side, the seats would form a row nearly 33 miles long. The seats required 350,000 feet of board lumber, 546 tons of cast iron and 3 tons of aluminum nuts and bolts.”48 The park was anticipated to open on Opening Day of 1962 but as the date quickly approached, Southern California experienced a torrential downpour threatening the timeline of Dodger Stadium. The month of February alone brought in over seventeen inches of rain which left the team searching for ways to dry the waterlogged field. To combat this, workers attached a jet airplane engine to a commercial truck as it blasted hot air around the park. The field would feature the world’s largest scoreboard which measured seventy-five by thirty four feet and used an amount of electricity equivalent to that of over two hundred houses. This board not only was the most advanced in size but in the technology used to operate it; all information would be relayed via typewriter and then would be displayed on the screen which could show up to thirty one characters. Upon completion of the stadium, New York columnist Bob Considine noted that “The arena he has built with the cooperation of the City of Los Angeles is a temple, indeed a shrine, to the old game. No rich doting patron of the past, including (former Yankees owner) Jake Ruppert, ever made a contribution of such scope and imagination.”49 O’Malley was able to put together the stadium of his dreams and the whole country got to watch as the newly housed Los Angeles Dodgers were able to step foot on their field in 1962. Frick also offered high praise for the owner 48 Langill, Mark. "Building O'Malley's Dream Stadium:" 8. 49 Ibid, 10.
  22. 22. 22 who helped move the team to the opposite side of the nation stating that “We should have nothing but praise for the man who imagined a city on the side of a hill and moved mountains to accomplish it — Walter O’Malley.”50 With a majority of the field completed, the team was able to play its first game on Opening Day, April 10, 1962 with O’Malley’s wife Kay, throwing the ceremonial first pitch. Dodger Stadium was considered to be a hit, achieving the dream O’Malley envisioned since the days the Bums resided in Brooklyn. The city of Los Angeles began to fall in love with their new team and the completion of Dodger Stadium only solidified it. For the Giants, the construction of Candlestick Park saw its fair share of scandal which prompted an investigation conducted by the Grand Jury which would examine the appropriateness of the financial gain garnished by the city in the acquisition of the land to be used for the field. The stadium, which was located in the Bayview-Hunters Point area of the city, was previously owned by Charles Harney who was a contractor in the area. He had purchased the land from the city of San Francisco in 1953 for $2,100 an acre, around the same time that the government began looking into bringing in a team. Christopher soon began to meet with Stoneham who told him that if his inquiry was serious, he would need to offer more money for the new stadium. To raise the finances without having to get it approved through a public poll, a nonprofit corporation named Stadium, Inc. was created by Christopher with Harney elected onto the board of directors. Harney then sold the land back to the city in 1957 for $65,853 an acre when land in the surrounding area was worth $6,540 an acre. The private deal allotted “a $7 million fee awarded to Harney to construct the new stadium included $2 million for stadium construction, $2 million for grading and filling and $2.7 million for real estate... $5.5 million bond issue without voter approval. The interest rate on these bonds was set at 5% whereas the 50 Ibid, 10.
  23. 23. 23 interest on the original $5 million bond issue was only 2.4%, a difference that would eventually cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.”51 The establishment of Christopher’s unofficial corporation allowed for the mayor to bypass public voting and after the approval the franchise’s relocation, Harney and his staff was replaced with city representatives to give a better perception of the community. The Grand Jury conducted their investigation as reported by the Chronicle and concluded that the obtainment of the land was in fact illegal as tax payer funds would be allocated to the team without their approval and any profit would be poured into the team rather than the city itself. To pay back the bonds taken out the city was to pay an “estimated annual payments on the bonds of $990,000 for the first 15 years of the debt period. Against that, the city was to draw $225,000 a year in rent from the Giants and $225,000 a year from advertising and parking revenues, leaving a balance of $640,000 to be paid annually from taxes or city funds.”52 The city would only be receiving $50,000 in revenue. The building of the stadium ultimately was a projected loss until it was completely paid off which would not be until 1993. Christopher had also drawn funds from other public services all to better finance and maintain the Giants which further had comprised the city’s operations and “the lives of future generations had been mortgaged by this shoddy piece of business, he maintained.”53 The investigation was led by Henry E. North, the foreman of the San Francisco’s Grand Jury who was resilient in bringing down the ever-present scandal as he handed the mayor with a $2 million libel suit. After his passing in 1962, the investigation merely fell to the wayside. Candlestick Park was scheduled to open on Opening Day in 1960 and was to hold 42,500 people. The stadium was to be made purely of concrete and solely for the sport of baseball which 51 Wolfe, Burton H. "Candlestick Swindle." San Francisco Bay Guardian, May 14, 1968: 1. 52 Ibid, 6. 53 Ibid, 10.
  24. 24. 24 had been unseen west of St. Louis. It is believed that Christopher picked the location of the stadium based on the dealings seen within the Grand Jury investigation and its name derived from the either the birds of the same name that flocked in the surrounding area or the rocks nearby that resembled candlesticks. The area was often noted for its high wind speeds which had not experienced by Stoneham until construction had begun on the field itself. National League president Chub Feeney also saw this firsthand when he questioned a construction worker about the wind asking “does it always blow like this around here?’ ‘Oh no, only between one and five in the afternoon.’ Freeney was well aware the Giants played mostly day games, and usually between those hours...an enterprising reporter asked a weather expert when was the ideal time for conditions at Candlestick Point. The reply was an unpractical 4:00am.”54 The wind was a defining characteristic of San Francisco unbeknownst to Stoneham who had been promised by Christopher that the climate seen within the Bay Area would promote the MLB franchise. People familiar with the area were all aware of the high frequency of wind experienced in Candlestick Point. This was due in part to Bernoulli’s Principle as “hot air (seen predominantly in the Central Valley) is replaced by cold air over the ocean a hundred miles away and most of that cold air is sucked through the San Bruno Gap. Because the opening is so narrow, it multiples the velocity of the cold air as it blows right across Daily City and directly across Candlestick Point before dispersing as it crosses the bay.”55 This would quickly cause for problems for players who would have to combat against the unusual weather pattern as the wind would take Orlando Cepeda’s 410 foot drive beyond St. Louis’ center fielder in the first inning of the inaugural game. The 1960 team would only see forty-six home runs at home while hitting 84 on the road which influenced management to bring in the dimensions of the field by thirty feet in left center field 54 Peters, Nick. Tales from the San Francisco Giants Dugout: A Collection ofthe Greatest Giants Stories Ever Told. New York: Sports Publishing, 2011, 100. 55 Atlas, Ted. Candlestick Park:Imagesof Sports. Charleston: Arcadia, 2010, 6.
  25. 25. 25 and twenty feet in right center field. This was considered to be a disappointment as players were promised that a new stadium would greatly help their careers, Rigney claiming that “Willie (Mays) should have his greatest year, both at bat and in the field,’ he said. Candlestick had deeper fences-420 to center, 397 feet in the alleys-than those at Seals Stadium, so Mays would now have more room to make catches. ‘He’ll hit more doubles and triples,’ Rigney promised.”56 The wind, though deterring from Mays’ stats helped prove to not only the fans but fellow baseball players that he could be one of the greatest ever seen. Players also reported that the overwhelming fog hindered their performance and often left the grass too wet to play in. The stadium also earned the moniker of “Cardiac Hill” in response to the excruciatingly steep hill which connected the parking lots to the field; this would quickly develop into a substantial problem as the hill would claim sixteen fatalities in result of cardiac arrest by 1962. In their initial meetings, Christopher’s main goal was to convince Stoneham that by moving his franchise to San Francisco, he would not have to worry about the weather, parking, attendance, and building the stadium the team dreamed of all of which New York could have never given him. Stoneham was left with unfulfilled promises as his team faced similar problems on the opposite side of the country. Christopher felt that Candlestick was still the best location for the renovated team and that their performance during the stadium’s inaugural season was in part to low attendance though drawing in over 1.7 million fans. Stoneham and Christopher’s rush to complete the stadium before their new California counterparts contributed the large and overwhelming flaws seen at Candlestick Park. The race to build a permanent facility proved to be detrimental to the initial success of the San Francisco Giants and the fans that had followed them across the nation. 56 Hirsch, James S. Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010, 318.
  26. 26. 26 The Giants and Dodgers rivalry has not only lasted the test of time but has traveled across the nation. Stoneham and O’Malley were “confronted with aging ballparks and urban population shifts which reduced suburban attendance, the Giants and Dodgers decided to gamble on the growing economic prosperity of the west...moved to exploit the new population centers, embarked on a new stadium-building book, and sought to control the dangers and capitalize on the opportunities presented by television.”57 The Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants left their beloved homes of Ebbets Field and Polo Grounds in hopes to strike gold in the Golden State. Matching the preexisting rivalry seen between Los Angeles and San Francisco, it was only natural for the two teams to divide and conquer the state. Each city welcomed their new teams with open arms, something they had thought they had lost in the heart of New York. Though facing adversity in their transition, the West saw the rapid construction of technologically advanced Dodger Stadium and Candlestick Park. The two teams could begin anew, with people who would actively support them in their pursuit of winning a World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants helped expand the sport, allowing it to truly become the national pastime as it is seen today. Baseball was forever changed by the innovations made by Walter O’Malley and Horace Stoneham, illustrating the sport as an ultimate and legitimate business entity not bound by the Sherman Antitrust Act. The transition proved to be essential to the greater development of the MLB and furthered the league’s interest in franchise relocation. America’s game could finally be played from sea to shining sea, as it had always intended to be. 57 Briley, Ron. Class at Bat, Gender on Deck and Race in the Hole: A Line-up of Essays on Twentieth Century Culture and America's Game. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003, 110-111.

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