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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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5) discussing politics
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Checking In with Walter O'Malley.com
2005-04-08 09:52
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

In case you weren't aware, it's always fun (and useful when you don't have time for a long post) to see what's happening on "This Day in Walter O'Malley History" at Walter O'Malley - The Official Website.

Once again, Walter O'Malley is no mere parochial family scrapbook, but a first-class resource of Dodger history. A couple of items:

April 8, 1959
The Los Angeles Dodgers will televise all 11 games against the Giants from San Francisco on KTTV Channel 11, according to Walter O'Malley. "It is being done as a public service," said O'Malley. "The Dodgers will derive no revenue from the telecast of these games." (Source: The Sporting News) Broadcasters Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett handled the 11 televised games, as well as all games on KMPC Radio AM 710.

* * *

April 8, 1963
Walter O'Malley sends a Western Union telegram to Robert O. Reynolds, President and co-owner of the Los Angeles Angels, who also played home games at Dodger Stadium in 1962 and were preparing for another season there. The Angels defeated the Dodgers twice in Spring Training exhibition contests in 1963. O'Malley writes, "Congratulations to the City Champs, a recognition well deserved. Your team played well and it is our sincere hope that you have a great season in the win and lost column."

Comments
2005-04-08 10:24:03
1.   Dr Love
The copies of the actual telegrams is really cool.
2005-04-08 10:33:11
2.   Jim Tracy
I kinda miss the O'Malleys.

Despite all the negativity, liquidity issues, parking lot ownership, etc., etc., surrounding Frank McCourt, is it wrong that I am glad that we are not owned by FOX anymore? I know a lot of people are not thrilled with the McCourt/Depo combination, but so far, so good.

P.S. If you had told me we'd win the Giants series despite Lowe losing his game, Valentin making three errors, and Drew and Choi going 0 for 182 combined, I would never have believed you. This could only mean good things.

2005-04-08 10:37:37
3.   gvette
In truth, O'Malley was so furious that the upstart Angels kept beating the Dodgers in the Freeway Series from 62-65 (winning all 5 games), that he CANCELLED the series for three years.

It's good to be the King, or in that case, Walter O'Malley.

2005-04-08 10:44:46
4.   Dr Love
RE: #2. No, it's not wrong. There won't be a Darren Dreifort v2.0, or three managers in 5 years, or aquiring guys like Todd Hundley.

As long as DePo is the GM, I'm not going to worry about McCourt. Even if McCourt is just another owner to whom winning is extremely secondary to making money, I know that DePo, regardless of whether or not I agree with his moves, is truly trying to put together a team that can win--and perhaps more importantly, has a clear and defined plan to do so--and isn't just another GM who is ownership's pawn.

2005-04-08 10:56:29
5.   Jim Tracy
#4 - I agree. I feel the same way about DePo. There was a quote I read from DePo about a week or so ago that I really liked. To paraphrase, he said that he can't afford to be a fan of the Dodgers because they are his job and his livelihood. He has to make decisions not based on emotions but what makes the Dodgers better, i.e. makes him more successful at his job.

I think he completely underestimated the fan reaction when he traded LoDuca, and was probably wondering why everyone is going crazy over trading a 32 year old catcher who has a history of playing well for only half a year.

2005-04-08 11:02:53
6.   Dr Love
I don't think he underestimated the fan reaction of Proven Winner Paul LoDuca™, I think he just didn't care. He's trying to build a team that can win in the playoffs, fan and media reaction be damned.
2005-04-08 11:16:27
7.   Eric L
I think DePo knew that LoDuca was a fan favorite, but he also knew that he had to bite the bullet and try to get something in return for him.
2005-04-08 11:18:52
8.   Bob Timmermann
The presence of Tom Yawkey in the Hall of Fame and the absence of Walter O'Malley remains one of the more puzzling aspects of Cooperstown's bizarre choices.

If anyone can explain what great things Tom Yawkey did for baseball overall as opposed to Walter O'Malley, I would like to know what they were.

Walter O'Malley had his faults, but Tom Yawkey spent a lot of his money on a team and produced no championships and tacitly kept his team from integrating for two decades.

Of the execs (not league presidents or commissioners) in the Hall of Fame, you have the following:
Ed Barrow (Red Sox, Yankees)
Charlie Comiskey (White Sox)
Rube Foster (Negro Leagues)
Warren Giles (Reds, also NL President)
Clark Griffith (Senators)
Larry McPhail (Reds, Dodgers, Yankees)
Lee McPhail (Yankees, AL President)
Branch Rickey (Browns, Cardinals, Dodgers, Pirates)
Al Spalding (Cubs, although they were called the White Stockings at the time)
Bill Veeck (Indians, Browns, White Sox)
Tom Yawkey (Red Sox)

Has any team executive who started his front office career after O'Malley moved into the Dodgers front office been named to the Hall of Fame, other than Lee McPhail?

2005-04-08 11:31:42
9.   Suffering Bruin
I am flat shocked that Walter O'Malley is not in the Hall of Fame. Shocked.

And, oh yeah, #2? It's never wrong to be happy that Fox doesn't own the Dodgers.

2005-04-08 11:37:01
10.   gvette
The best chance for O'Malley to get into the HOF will be in about thirty years when the last of the NY sportswriters with an axe to grind, and the authors who profit off of treacly memoirs like Doris Kearns Goodwin and Roger Kahn pass on.

Until then, we're stuck with the cottage industry that profits from the urban myth that O'Malley "tore the heart from Brooklyn" when he moved the team.

Recommended revisionist history on that subject (Bob, I'm sure that you already read it) is "The Dodgers Move West" by Neil Sullivan.

2005-04-08 11:41:22
11.   Eric L
"The Last Good Season: Brooklyn, the Dodgers, and Their Final Pennant Race Together" wasn't a great book, but it seems to be one of the few books that didn't villify O'Malley.

The book at least attempted to explain both sides of the story.

2005-04-08 11:54:14
12.   Jon Weisman
I thought "The Last Good Season" was a very good book.
2005-04-08 11:55:28
13.   Bob Timmermann
Yes, but in 30 years, there could be a sudden ground swell of dislike for O'Malley from people who claim that they grew up in the Chavez Ravine area and Walter O'Malley personally kicked them out of their homes. Instead of the City of Los Angeles.

This issue still simmers.

I'm still inclined to believe that people in New York will continue to believe that O'Malley is the Antichrist of New York city baseball for quite some time. It's much easier to pick out one man as your enemy rather than a complex series of demographic and economic changes throughout New York City and the United States.

2005-04-08 11:57:03
14.   Dr Love
"Yes, but in 30 years, there could be a sudden ground swell of dislike for O'Malley from people who claim that they grew up in the Chavez Ravine area and Walter O'Malley personally kicked them out of their homes. Instead of the City of Los Angeles."

And Plaschke's just the man for that job!

It's a shame O'Malley isn't in the HOF.

2005-04-08 12:15:47
15.   gvette
It's hard to fight a mythology of the 50's Dodgers as a political/social utopian experiment that finally triumphed over their segregationist rivals in 55, only to be destroyed by greed.

An unpopular view would see the team as a good ballclub built in part on early exploitation of the talent in the Negro Leagues, that by 57 was aging and in need of rebuilding, hampered by an inadequate stadium, and frustrated by the labryinth of NYC politics in being able to build a new stadium (for reference check out the Jets trying to get a new stadium these days).

Not hard to see which view is going to get the most traction with the public.

A cynic would suggest that the decades long talent search by the Dodgers for players of Mexican(Hector Valle, Jose Pena) or Mexican American ancestry (Babo Castillo) that finally paid off with Fernando was fueled in part by the whole Chavez Ravine debacle.

2005-04-08 12:15:50
16.   Bob Timmermann
Plaschke won't be the guy writing sympathy stories like that. That would be the job of news section people. I see it as more of a Steve Lopez job. If Al Martinez had a more prominent position, you'd hear from him.
2005-04-08 12:17:15
17.   Bob Timmermann
Don't forget Phil Ortega. He was the Dodgers First Great Mexican Hope!
2005-04-08 12:25:02
18.   gvette
Phil Ortega? Only problem from what I read was that he was actually Native American, a detail that probably didn't make any difference to the Dodgers in the early 60's.
2005-04-08 12:30:46
19.   Jon Ericson
Jose Valentin has 3 errors and 1 HR this year versus Adrian Beltre's 0 in both categories. I know it's too early to draw any conclusions, but wouldn't have guessed that Valentin would look so bad in the field this spring. I'd really like to see Nakamura play for the Dodgers, especially since seemed to have a better spring than any other option at third.
2005-04-08 12:35:53
20.   Bob Timmermann
From the albeit rather small sample, I would say that Valentin and Kent have been the Dodgers offensive stars.

I'm pretty sure Phil Ortega was given more of a chance than he deserved because of his name. He went to Washington in the trade that netted the Dodgers Claude Osteen.

2005-04-08 12:37:48
21.   Eric Enders
"If anyone can explain what great things Tom Yawkey did for baseball overall as opposed to Walter O'Malley, I would like to know what they were."
---------------

I can tell you exactly what Yawkey did that O'Malley didn't: Had his widow make a multimillion dollar donation after his death to construct a new "Yawkey Wing" of the Hall of Fame. The year after Jean Yawkey did that -- poof! -- Tom was in the Hall of Fame.

2005-04-08 12:56:11
22.   Strike4
Wow, identifying criteria and impact for baseball owners and executives. A whole new meaning to subjectivity. Players are hard enough.

How about a Hall of Shame for execs... I nominate only two -- Harry Frazee and Fox.

2005-04-08 12:56:12
23.   gvette
Phil Ortega ended up with the Angels in 69, joining similarly washed up ex Dodgers like Lou Johnson, and Dick Stuart. According to Ross Newhan's book on the Halos, he had a substance abuse problem that hastened the end of his career.

What would Plaschke say about a trade where you sent away your best homerun hitter, best 3B prospect, and two young hard throwers, in exchange for a career sub .500 pitcher from a cellar dwelling American League team?

The Dodgers won two pennants with that trade.

2005-04-08 12:57:02
24.   Smirk
Excuse the digression, but I'm confused...

Did somebody remove the Pope's feeding tube?

2005-04-08 13:05:33
25.   Bob Timmermann
The Pope had gone into septic shock, so even with a feeding tube, he was going to die. Much different issue....

But back to the Dodgers-Senators trade, a friend of mine said that he was really upset about the trade at the time. He thought that Frank Howard was going to be a huge star for the Dodgers. The same thing about Richert.

It's interesting that Mrs. Yawkey could pretty much buy her husband's plaque at Cooperstown, but if Peter O'Malley tried the same thing, he would be pilloried by every sportswriter over the age of 50.

2005-04-08 13:29:47
26.   Linkmeister
Well, Bob, your friend got the "huge" part right; what was Howard, 6'6" and 260lbs?
2005-04-08 13:30:19
27.   Smirk
Ha ha. I just checked back, after twenty minutes, to see how you guys liked my joke.

I"m the only one left in the room.

2005-04-08 13:48:47
28.   Jim Tracy
I know it's a horribly small sample size, but with the Dodgers winning 2 of 3 despite Valentin's three errors, is DePodesta correct when he says that defensive skill is almost immaterial?
2005-04-08 13:56:01
29.   Eric L
I thought "The Last Good Season" was a very good book.
--------------

Perhaps I was understating it a bit. It is a good book.

2005-04-08 14:18:42
30.   Rick A
Very OT, but:
Did anyone read the SI Baseball Preview?
Tom Verducci does an insert titled the "Perfect Order". His "Perfect" #8 batter?

Alex Cora.

2005-04-08 14:26:08
31.   Dr Love
Jeff Kent can only aspire to be Alex Cora.
2005-04-08 14:27:17
32.   Jim Tracy
#31 - please be joking. Alex Cora could never grow a mustache like that.
2005-04-08 14:29:47
33.   John J Perricone
Jon, are you freakin' kidding me?!?!? Did you just get 324 comments by asking where your readers are from? Oh my Gawd!

Three things...

One, that is an amazing number of responses, I am flabbergasted.

Two, get yourself a Guestmap. I have one on my page, it is a really fun way to see where your influence reaches. I have readers in Japan, Israel, Australia, Russia, Italy, all over the world, really. It's a simple and easy plug-in to add, and it's free.

Three, do me a favor and plug my ass every once in a while, because you, my friend, are absolutely dominating. Congratulations.

2005-04-08 14:30:17
34.   Dr Love
"#31 - please be joking. Alex Cora could never grow a mustache like that."

The one Kent has now is nothing to brag about. Hell, my mother could grow that 'stache.

2005-04-08 14:30:56
35.   Jon Weisman
When did DePodesta say that "defensive skill is almost immaterial?" He has said on many occasions that he believes in the sum total of runs scored vs. runs prevented. Defense is very much part of his equation.

I don't think DePodesta would have wanted Valentin if he really believed he would make an error in every game.

2005-04-08 14:33:35
36.   Jon Weisman
Folks, read OnlyBaseballMatters.com to get your Giants perspective!

(And thanks, John. The comment thing is a fairly recent development. I don't think DT had ever broken 150 before this week.)

2005-04-08 14:42:23
37.   GoBears
Well, I wouldn't say that defense doesn't matter, and I'm sure DePo wouldn't either. But pitching-independent defense surely doesn't matter as much as offense.

Am I surprised that LA won 2 of 3, despite the errors and despite Drew and Choi not contributing offenively? Not at all. Not against a Giants lineup with no good hitters. Once Alou went down, they became a AA-quality offense. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have a good offense, ESPN be damned, that can survive a couple days without contributions from their best (Drew) and 3rd or 4th best (Choi) hitters.

2005-04-08 14:52:20
38.   Jim Tracy
Jon, you're right, that was rash of me to phrase my question with those words.
2005-04-08 15:08:50
39.   Eric Enders
There were a lot of handles I didn't recognize in that where-are-you-from thread. I wonder how many people were making their first-ever post in that thread?
2005-04-08 15:13:43
40.   Bob Timmermann
Were there a lot of new people last night? Probably. Am I going to be watching tonight? No, I won't. Will I be watching Saturday? No, I can't. Will I be watching Sunday? Almost assuredly.
2005-04-08 15:20:11
41.   brendan glynn
#34 Dr. Love
"The one Kent has now is nothing to brag about. Hell, my mother could grow that 'stache."

I agree with Dr. Love. His mother could grow a bigger stache than Kent

(Sorry had to be done)

2005-04-08 15:36:11
42.   Dr Love
You gotta do what you gotta do. No need to apologize.
2005-04-08 15:57:46
43.   Mr Customer
OT, again, but I wonder what I could have made in Vegas if I placed a bet that the Reds and Brewers would be the last two teams in the majors without a loss.
2005-04-08 16:05:49
44.   Bob Timmermann
They better lose soon. Larry Csonka wants to drink that Champagne!
2005-04-08 16:08:00
45.   Bob Timmermann
If you think we were chatty the last two nights, on Baseball Primer, they have (right now) 721 comments on today's Cubs-Brewers game, which did go 12 innings. And I'm pretty sure that there is only one Brewer fan that was posting.

The Cubs fans have begun their self-immolation.

2005-04-08 16:09:39
46.   Dr Love
Re: #45 I was rooting for the Brewers. That was a great terrible game. A ton of walks, bad managing, extra innings, lots of men left on base.
2005-04-08 16:35:48
47.   Jon Ericson
Defense can be vastly overrated, I'd say. Valentin certainly has been a net positive dispite those errors.

April looks really good for the Dodgers: Bondless Giants, Arizona, Colorado, Brewers, and the Padres. The early injuries may not hurt as much as it might seem.

2005-04-08 16:42:30
48.   GoBears
Following up on Jon Ericson's point (and taking liberties with it), I think it's worth pointing out that the age of this Giants is already taking a toll. Every team has injuries that are hard to predict, but some teams have injuries that are wholly predictable. I didn't believe Gammons, or others who thought the Giants could contend even if everyone were healthy for 162 games. But the expected average GP for this starting 8 is probably more like 120-130 games (remember, Bonds led the way with 140 last year). And already, Bonds and Alou are injured, and even Durham missed 1 of 3. They're in deep doo-doo even before the unpredictable injuries start piling up.
2005-04-08 16:44:18
49.   GoBears
Oops. Typo. "...age of this Giants team..."

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