Walter O'Malley The Official Website

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Great Ideas at Dodger Stadium (that never made it to first base!)

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Buckminster Fuller (left) confers with Dodger President Walter O’Malley in 1956 regarding the use of a geodesic dome to contain a new baseball stadium in Brooklyn. Fuller, an internationally known inventor, designer, and professor, was a judge at a competition for architectural students at Princeton University and O’Malley was present to review student designs for a baseball stadium.


I think you have to start, really back in Brooklyn with Bucky (Buckminster) Fuller (designer, innovator, and professor) and the idea of the geodesic dome. With the weather you encounter, you know the World Series they’re playing now, you would be in an overcoat, you would be in a hat and gloves sitting in Yankee Stadium and we would play the Yankees in October.

I think everything started back in Brooklyn at Flatbush Avenue, the idea of the dome stadium because of the weather that you could play 365 days a year. That was the concept. Now you came out here (to Los Angeles) and it was first a case of locating the area, Chavez Ravine, and once there then Praeger (Emil, Engineer) was very active in determining how do you take this site and convert it into a stadium. It was a hilly area. I was a LA native and my mother painted in Chavez Ravine and I had no idea where Chavez Ravine was.

We were sitting down in the Statler (Hilton) coffee shop en route to Japan in 1956. (Los Angeles County Supervisor) Kenny Hahn was there with Walter (O’Malley), and I’m looking for Walter to try to find him because the bus (carrying the team to Los Angeles International Airport) had left and I have a limo for him (O’Malley). We had two buses and the bus had left because we had the family group as well. So, I found him and sat down, and Walter says, “Come sit down, we’re having coffee.” So we sat down and chatted. And at that point Kenny Hahn was talking about an area in downtown Los Angeles and Walter looked at me as if to say “You’re the only Californian we’ve got in the organization, where is this place?” And I had no idea. I had never heard of Chavez Ravine.

Walter did not want to leave to Brooklyn. He did not want to leave New York. He was a New Yorker. Walter, as far as I’m concerned, always wanted to stay in New York. He had a lovely home in Amityville. He didn’t want to go, but they were not going to give an inch. I’m sure in the dark watches of the night Walter would say to himself, is this really the place to go. The two PCL clubs (Hollywood and Los Angeles) did not draw that well collectively.

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