Dodgertown

Spring’s Eternal at Dodgertown

The Sporting News list of 100 Most Powerful People in Sports for the 20th Century, December 1999

  1. Pete Rozelle
  2. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis
  3. Roone Arledge
  4. Branch Rickey
  5. Marvin Miller
  6. David Stern
  7. Rupert Murdoch
  8. Avery Brundage
  9. Ban Johnson
  10. Muhammad Ali
  11. Walter O’Malley
  12. Steve Borstein
  13. Phil Knight
  14. George Halas
  15. Babe Ruth
  16. Walter Byers
  17. Lamar Hunt
  18. Ted Turner
  19. Paul Brown
  20. Michael Jordan
  21. Jackie Robinson
  22. Pierre De Coubertin
  23. Juan Antonio Samaranch
  24. Donald Fehr
  25. Tex Rickard
  26. Roy Hofheinz
  27. Horst Dassler
  28. Red Auerbach
  29. Bill France Sr.
  30. Arnold Palmer
  31. Al Davis
  32. Birch Bayh
  33. Billie Jean King
  34. Paul Tagliabue
  35. Charlie Finley
  36. Clarence Campbell
  37. George Steinbrenner
  38. Peter Ueberroth
  39. Bert Bell
  40. Jacob Ruppert
  41. Dick Ebersol
  42. Mark McCormack
  43. Al Neuharth
  44. Tex Schramm
  45. Bill Veeck
  46. Arthur Ashe
  47. Howard Cosell
  48. Fathers Theodore Hesburgh and William Beauchamp
  49. Don King
  50. Connie Mack
  1. David Falk
  2. John Wooden
  3. Andre Laguerre
  4. August Busch Jr.
  5. Peter Seitz
  6. Roger Penske
  7. Wilt Chamberlain
  8. Jack Nicklaus
  9. Bill France Jr.
  10. Bowie Kuhn
  11. George Preston Marshall
  12. Ed Barrow
  13. Abe Saperstein
  14. John McGraw
  15. Larry MacPhail
  16. Dick Schultz
  17. Gary Bettman
  18. Adolph Rupp
  19. Walter Brown
  20. Jesse Owens
  21. Deane Beman
  22. Phog Allen
  23. Wellington Mara
  24. Charles Comiskey
  25. Eddie Robinson
  26. Knute Rockne
  27. Arch Ward
  28. Jerry Jones
  29. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
  30. Bobby Orr
  31. Art Rooney
  32. Alan Eagleson
  33. Pele
  34. Bud Selig
  35. Tommie Smith and John Carlos
  36. Pat Summit
  37. Laurence Tisch
  38. Bobby Jones
  39. Tiger Woods
  40. Leigh Steinberg
  41. Henry Iba
  42. Bill Bowerman
  43. Anatoli Tarasov
  44. Albert “Happy” Chandler
  45. “The Voices of Baseball” — Mel Allen, Red Barber, Vin Scully, Harry Caray, Jack Buck, Ernie Harwell,Bob Prince, Etc.
  46. Sonny Werblin
  47. Ed and Steve Sabol
  48. J.G. Taylor Spink and C.C. Johnson Spink
  49. Wayne Gretzky
  50. The Famous Chicken
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ABC Sports ranks the Top Ten Most Influential People "off the field" in sports history as voted by the Sports Century panel in December, 1999

  1. Branch Rickey
  2. Pete Rozelle
  3. Roone Arledge
  4. Marvin Miller
  5. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis
  6. David Stern
  7. Avery Brundage
  8. Walter O’Malley
  9. George Halas
  10. Mark McCormack
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Attendance 1953-1957 Brooklyn Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Braves

Attendance 1953-1957 Brooklyn Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Braves
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International relations were always important to O’Malley as a way for countries to reach unity through baseball. He arranged for the Dodgers to play a 19-game goodwill tour in Japan in October-November 1956. In an unusually wet 1959 spring in Vero Beach when it rained six straight days, O’Malley arranged for the Dodgers to fly to Havana, Cuba to get their work done and play the Cincinnati Reds with Fidel Castro present. Holman’s son, Capt. H.R. “Bump,” one of the team’s pilots, flew the Dodgers to Havana in the team-owned Convair. The Dodgers would use their training camp, Dodgertown, to promote cultural exchanges and baseball education in later years. Peter O’Malley continued the tradition and encouraged numerous international visits from throughout the world. Vero Beach was the site of many of these exchanges, as in 1957 when the Dodgers invited Shigeru Mizuhara, manager of the Tokyo Giants as well as two of his players, pitcher Sho Horiuchi and catcher Shigeru Fujio, to train at Dodgertown. On March 2, 1961, the entire Tokyo Giants team arrived there for training. O’Malley even had dining room menus printed in Japanese for the occasion.

The successful Giants would return for education and spring training visits in 1967, 1971 and 1975 under O’Malley’s leadership. One of the most popular figures during these camps was Giants’ slugger and all-time home run leader Sadaharu Oh. “We could see how togetherness came about through a well-organized program,” said Oh of the Dodgertown experience. “I saw that a veteran player should work harder. Some of the busiest workers among the Dodgers in camp are their most experienced men. Spring training should not only be physical preparation. It also should be mental readiness. It is obvious that victory comes from team play. This you can gain in a place like Dodgertown. It brings everyone together more.”Joe Hendrickson, Dodgertown

In 1965, O’Malley hired Ike Ikuhara, a graduate of Waseda University in Japan, to work in various departments and learn the business of baseball. On the Dodgers’ second goodwill tour to Japan following their appearance in the 1966 World Series, the highly-educated and respected Ikuhara served as a team ambassador and interpreter. Years later, Ikuhara wrote two baseball books printed in Japanese (“The Man Who Survives the Race” in 1984; “A Winning Tradition” in 1985) and in summer of 2002 was posthumously honored with induction into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

“We’ve brought the Japanese teams to the Dodgers’ spring training camp a number of times, and the Japanese are students of the game,” said O’Malley. “They work harder than our boys do in spring training. The Japanese (players) are out there at 8 in the morning and they are still out there at 6 at night. They work.”Ed Schoenfeld, The Sporting News, November 6, 1971

Dodgertown opened its arms to the world, as in 1962 Bowdewijn Maat, an outstanding amateur player, of Holland was invited to Vero Beach to study American methods of training and playing baseball. In 1965, the Dodgers invited Ricardo Garza, a top player from Mexico, to study and train at Vero Beach. Other exchanges from Cuba and Mexico took place. In 1962, Kaoru Betto, a coach from Japan, traveled with the Dodgers for the entire season.

The Dodgers branched out from their base to make some spring trips, including to Mexico for a three-game series in 1964. The Dodgers played before 75,000 fans in the games in Mexico City. Unfortunately, a few months later on May 31, Bud Holman died at his Blue Cypress ranch. The rancher, citrus grower, automobile dealer, airport terminal manager for Eastern Air Lines had been a good friend of the O’Malleys, Dodgertown and the entire Vero Beach community.

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  • Yomiuri Giants slugger Sadaharu Oh, Walter O’Malley, Giants President Toru Shoriki and Giants Manager Shigeo Nagashima enjoy another cultural exchange at Dodgertown in 1971.Yomiuri Giants slugger Sadaharu Oh, Walter O’Malley, Giants President Toru Shoriki and Giants Manager Shigeo Nagashima enjoy another cultural exchange at Dodgertown in 1971.
  • Walter O’Malley personally gives the Yomiuri Giants team a send-off, as it returns to Tokyo after gaining valuable training experience with the Dodgers in the spring of 1971..Walter O’Malley personally gives the Yomiuri Giants team a send-off, as it returns to Tokyo after gaining valuable training experience with the Dodgers in the spring of 1971..
  • Akihiro “Ike” Ikuhara, a graduate of Waseda University in Japan, working in the Dodger ticket office. Ikuhara learned the business of baseball from the O’Malleys and became a goodwill ambassador and interpreter for the Dodgers. In summer of 2002, Ikuhara was posthumously inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.Akihiro “Ike” Ikuhara, a graduate of Waseda University in Japan, working in the Dodger ticket office. Ikuhara learned the business of baseball from the O’Malleys and became a goodwill ambassador and interpreter for the Dodgers. In summer of 2002, Ikuhara was posthumously inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Reaching out to grow the game internationally, Walter O’Malley and the Dodgers were in Mexico City for a three-game exhibition series with the Reds in 1964.Reaching out to grow the game internationally, Walter O’Malley and the Dodgers were in Mexico City for a three-game exhibition series with the Reds in 1964.AP Photo