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
Los Angeles Bound
Where to Play in L.A.
Page 52
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Page 54
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...
The Business of..
Growing the Game...
Moving to Chairman...
The Last Inning
The Biography of Walter O'Malley

Where to Play in L.A.
O’Malley in the meantime, reluctantly reviewed his own Wrigley Field property for possible use for the 1958 season, now less than three months away from Opening Day.
On January 13, he enlisted the use of a police car to hustle from the failed negotiations in Pasadena, to Wrigley Field, some 13 miles away, to make another announcement. He felt “constrained to select Wrigley Field as the site for the 1958 major league games.”85 But when pressed by reporters if that was his final decision, he said, “Well no. I’m not burning any bridges behind me.” O’Malley still wanted to pursue the 100,000-seat Coliseum, rather than 22,000-seat Wrigley Field, which could have been enlarged by some 1,600 to accommodate only 23,600 fans.
Strangely enough, one of the big drawbacks to L.A.’s Wrigley Field was a lack of parking (one lot holding just 800 cars attached to the park, with makeshift peripheral spaces on homeowners’ lawns), the same nagging issue he had tried to resolve at old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Plus, Ebbets Field held nearly 10,000 more fans than Wrigley Field’s capacity. O’Malley didn’t want to take a step backward for certain. He met later that day with Mayor Poulson to discuss ways to overcome opposition to the Dodgers playing in the Coliseum.
Following long, arduous meetings with the Coliseum Commission, O’Malley finally decided on using the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for his immediate needs, in an arrangement known as O’Malley’s “3 a.m. Plan.” This would enable the baseball diamond to be located on the west end of the Coliseum and did not remove any of the physical properties of the Coliseum. “This is made possible by erecting a screen on the north side of the Coliseum, a screen that would be removable,”86 O’Malley said, plus his pledge to guarantee a rental fee per annum of $300,000, the highest ever paid by a baseball club.
The first modification was a 42-foot high screen that was erected in left field, to make up for a short 251-foot distance down the line. Additionally, a press box area in the stands, dugouts and three additional banks of lights would have to be added to the Coliseum. Foul territory would also be considerable in some areas.
After working out the details with the other co-tenants — the Los Angeles Rams, University of Southern California, UCLA, and others — O’Malley was ready to play in the classic stadium, though he made many sacrifices of typically lucrative home dates for the Dodgers, including the Fourth of July.
A massive downtown parade and welcoming ceremony on the steps of City Hall preceded the first game in Los Angeles, played on April 18, 1958 at the Coliseum and the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants, 6-5, before 78,672, a major league record crowd.
Ed Roebuck, pitcher for the Dodgers, perhaps said it best when describing the new surroundings and temporary home field: “It looks like Grand Canyon with seats.”87

85 Los Angeles Examiner, January 14, 1958, AP
86 Transcript of Recessed Meeting of L.A. Memorial Coliseum Commission, January 14, 1958, pg. 108
87 Arthur Daley, The New York Times, April 18, 1958

On May 2, 1957, Walter O’Malley surveys the mammoth Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for temporary use by the Dodgers beginning with the 1958 season. He is standing where he believes home plate would be located.

Courtesy of University of Southern California, on behalf of the USC Specialized Libraries and Archival Collections

By installing a removable screen on the north side of the Coliseum, it was possible to configure the football layout into a makeshift baseball field. The “3 a.m. Plan” emerges in January 1958 from Walter O’Malley’s lack of sleep as he wrestles with options for where the Los Angeles Dodgers would play that year. The baseball diamond was to be shoehorned in the closed end of the Coliseum, giving home plate a north-east orientation. A 42-foot high screen had to be installed because of the short 251 foot left field fence.

The Dodgers are welcomed to Los Angeles by thousands of fans on April 18, 1958, during an Opening Day parade and celebration through the city’s downtown streets.

Herald-Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library

Thousands of fans lined the streets to greet their Los Angeles Dodgers, who traveled by motorcade to the Coliseum.

Courtesy of University of Southern California, on behalf of the USC Specialized Libraries and Archival Collections

In the Dodgers’ first game in Los Angeles on April 18, 1958, they defeated the San Francisco Giants, 6-5, in front of a major league record crowd of 78,672 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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