You can play the “What If” game with the Dodgers because when they came west to Southern California, there were more cities than just Los Angeles that had a tremendous interest in the team building their new stadium in their area. Dodger President Walter O’Malley had brought the team to Los Angeles in October, 1957, but he was now faced with a local referendum in June, 1958, “Proposition B”, as to whether the contract previously approved between the city of Los Angeles and the Dodgers that permitted an exchange of land to build a baseball stadium would be affirmed by Los Angeles city voters. The Dodgers received tremendous local support for the contract, but it was clear that opposition to the contract would be fierce. Observing this critical election, other Southern California cities reasoned the team might have interest of the potential their city would have should the contract with the city of Los Angeles and the Dodgers not be approved.
The greatest interest in the Dodgers was shown by the city of Downey, California. The city is named after the Governor of California during the Civil War and as its brochure announced, “Downey is a beautiful residential community located only 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. The area is an enviable one in which to live because of its ideal location, temperate climate, and fine modern homes with numerous private swimming pools.” The city was a finalist in the All-America City competition conducted by the National Municipal League. Current Mayor of Downey Scott Temple wrote in his letter to the citizens of Downey that “Downey will have a FUTURE UNLIMITED.”
The city published an informational guide “Invitation to the Dodgers.” The brochure included a letter from Mayor Temple to Walter O’Malley and the mayor’s letter stated, “We sincerely believe it will be to your advantage to thoroughly consider our proposed location and we extend our best wishes for your future.”
The Downey brochure to the Dodgers included endorsements for the city from Los Angeles First District Supervisor Frank Bonelli and an invitation and letter of support from Leon Emerson, President of the Downey Chamber of Commerce. James Hall, the President of the Downey Board of Realtors also provided good wishes and a message of support that Downey would be “the future home of the Dodgers.”
The city of Downey listed five reasons why the Dodgers should build their new stadium there. They pointed to their geographical and population center of Los Angeles, the increase of freeway mileage with all roads connected to Downey, the growth and progressive community of their citizens, the ease of acquisition of suitable land for a stadium, and the number of sports-minded fans in Downey who would support the Dodgers.