||The city of Los Angeles agreed to exchange some 300 acres in Chavez Ravine and the grading and construction of access roads with help from the County of Los Angeles. O’Malley, in turn, would trade Wrigley Field to the city, valued at $2.2 million, plus provide a 40-acre public recreational area for 20 years (he was to set aside $500,000 plus $60,000 a year to support such activities) and pay annual property taxes of approximately $345,000. Of course, O’Malley was to privately finance 56,000-seat Dodger Stadium. On October 7, 1957, the Council of the City of Los Angeles by a 10-4 vote adopted an ordinance (No. 110204) which entered the city into a contract with the Dodgers.
Those Council members who voted in favor were Wyman, Gordon Hahn (the brother of County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn), Everett Burkhalter, Ransom Callicott, James Corman, Ernest Debs, John Gibson, Charles Navarro, L.E. Timberlake and Karl Rundberg. The four opposing votes were cast by Earle Baker, Harold Henry, John Holland and Patrick McGee. Councilman Edward Roybal did not vote as he was on vacation.
The next day, October 8, as Mayor Poulson signed the ordinance, O’Malley announced in a short press release that the Brooklyn Dodgers were moving their ballclub to Los Angeles for the 1958 season.
It read, “In view of the action of the Los Angeles City Council yesterday and in accordance with the resolution of the National League made October first, the stockholders and directors of the Brooklyn Baseball Club have today met and unanimously agreed that the necessary steps be taken to draft the Los Angeles territory.”
Five years would pass until the expansion New York Mets would join the National League and their ballpark, Shea Stadium, opened in 1964, built by the city on the same site that Moses had offered to O’Malley in Flushing Meadows, Queens. It was still not located in Brooklyn.
While many a man has headed west to new frontiers, no one could have predicted how Walter O’Malley’s journey to the left coast would instantly strike gold. His historic westward expansion of baseball, at the same time that the New York Giants moved their beleaguered franchise to San Francisco, came in tandem with a major population shift to the West. The once proud and successful Giants, who won the 1954 World Series championship, were faced with similar challenges, playing in an out-of-date park known as the Polo Grounds, which was built in 1911.
Los Angelenos knew about baseball, they just didn’t know what they had been missing. As each major league team made its way to Los Angeles starting in 1958, fans got first-hand views of the play of Stan Musial, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, to name a few. This was the big leagues and every fan could enjoy the upgrade from a very good PCL, which served as a fine farm system for the majors.
As thousands of fans greeted them to their new home on October 23, the Dodgers arrived at the airport in their team-owned plane, complete with the newly emblazoned name “Los Angeles” painted on its side. Baseball fans, local sportswriters and downtown businesses were excited about the prospects of having the Dodgers arrive in town. However, that did not stop some dissidents of Chavez Ravine from serving a summons to O’Malley at the airport on behalf of those opposed to the city’s contract for the Chavez Ravine land.82 A huge civic welcoming party was held at the Statler Hotel on October 28, where O’Malley and his front office expressed thanks to the city and the fans. An enormous banner stretched across the front of the packed ballroom of 1,100 fans reading, “The Greatest Catch in Baseball.”
O’Malley told the audience, “I want to pay my respects to everyone who has been so wonderful to us. We of the Dodgers are a family people. And I assure you there never will be a time when anyone connected with the Dodgers will have to apologize for his conduct. This is a grass-roots movement. You can feel it at every turn — on the streets, in the cabs, all over the city. People, in welcoming us, make us feel they mean it and we want you to be proud of the day you decided to make the Dodgers the Los Angeles Dodgers.”