Dodgers World Series Ring Walter O'Malley The Official Website

The Early Years
Entering The...
The Dodger Saga
A New Era Begins
Ebbets Field Revisited
The Memorable...
Searching for New...
L.A. Sends a Message
This is Next Year!
Putting Their Domes...
The Political Game
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Los Angeles Bound
Where to Play in L.A.
Curveball Right...
The Red Head is a...
1959: A Year of...
Home Sweet Home
Construction of...
L.A.'s Sparkling New...
1963: A Taxing Year...
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Growing the Game...
Moving to Chairman...
The Last Inning
The Biography of Walter O'Malley

At the 11th hour, financier-philanthropist Nelson Rockefeller made a last-ditch financial aid proposal to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn, which apparently was more of a grandstanding move than one that drew any real interest from New York City officials or O’Malley. By that point in mid-September 1957, the script was almost complete for a move west. However, O’Malley would not make any commitments to Los Angeles until the Board of Estimate had heard Rockefeller’s plan.
Rockefeller originally planned to purchase for $1.5 million the property that the city would then condemn in downtown Brooklyn. Madigan and Hyland engineering firm had placed the cost of condemning the land at $8 million. Later, Rockefeller’s offer grew to $2 million. In effect, the $2 million would be a loan to the Dodgers with interest and the acquisition of 12 acres in order to build a stadium. Rockefeller called his offer “a realistic reflection of today’s real estate values” and “a basis for permanent improvements which would increase values in the entire area and add to the city’s tax revenues so as to offset a temporary loss to the city in the price of the land.”75
Rockefeller met at City Hall with Mayor Wagner and Goodfellow, president of the Long Island Rail Road, to discuss the proposed Atlantic and Flatbush site for the new stadium. Rockefeller commented that the Dodgers were willing to invest their own money for a stadium and that the city’s right to condemn the necessary land for slum clearance and re-sell it had been confirmed by Corporation Counsel Brown. In the meantime, a guarded O’Malley was weighing his attractive Los Angeles offer against the New York plan, which was not well-received by many. O’Malley stated, “If we are to stay, we must not only receive the site that is best suited for our purpose, but we must also be given terms that are most reasonable and fair.”76 City Controller Lawrence Gerosa, a longtime opponent of any stadium proposal, called it a “giveaway” of taxpayers’ money.77
Rockefeller then upped his bid to $3 million, but the Board of Estimate did not reach a decision during a three-and-a-half hour special meeting. Rockefeller would lease the land back to the Dodgers for 20 years. Then, if O’Malley did not purchase the land, it would be repurchased by the city at the price that Rockefeller had paid. An emergency board meeting had been held, after O’Malley, Mayor Wagner and Rockefeller met at Gracie Mansion, with O’Malley agreeing to delay any action in Los Angeles until the board could be consulted.78

75 New York Post, William H. Rudy, September 20, 1957
76 Long Island Press, Joe Reichler, September 11, 1957
77 New York Post, William H. Rudy, September 20, 1957
78 New York Daily News, Dominick Peluso and Harry Schlegel, September 19, 1957

(L-R) Walter O’Malley, Nelson Rockefeller and New York Mayor Robert Wagner in 11th hour discussions at Gracie Mansion in New York in September 1957.

AP/Wide World Photos

Walter O’Malley delayed the Dodgers’ decision until an emergency meeting of New York’s Board of Estimate was held in September 1957.

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