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Walter O’Malley was a large man who had a quick step and a slight bounce to his walk, a warm smile, and a pleasant habit of mischievously peering out over the top of his spectacles. The wooden (Dodgertown) barracks where we worked creaked and echoed; yet his approach was almost always silent. What told us he was coming was the distinctive push he gave to the Hollywood-style saloon doors that set the Infirmary off from the rest of the corridor. “Good Morning,” he would say, standing in the doorway, not stepping in until he was invited. He had a booming voice, an infectious smile, and quickly put us at ease. As he stepped over the threshold he always removed his brown straw hat that seemed so much a natural part of his anatomy. He asked us how everything was, inquired about the sick and injured, and amused us by offering therapeutic advice after listening to case histories. He had absolutely no medical training, but his interest in medicine was a passionate one, forged in part by personal conquest of illness. He willingly assumed the burden of concern for the sick and injured, no matter who they were, and spared no effort or expense to help them. We saw him as a man of unique admirable qualities who inspired loyalty, respect, and affection. Yet the public he had left behind in Brooklyn, New York, saw him from afar through their disappointment and anger.”

Pascal James Imperato, MD
team physician, Dodgertown, Spring Training, 1964,
New York State Journal of Medicine, February 1989 from “Himself, Mrs. Plucker and the Rites of Spring” Editor’s note: Mrs. Anastasia Plucker was the longtime Dodgertown Spring Training nurse.


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