Wyman's Historic Efforts Bring Dodgers to Los Angeles Walter O'Malley The Official Website

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Wyman’s Historic Efforts Bring Dodgers to Los Angeles

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Wyman was right in the middle of the achievement and turmoil. Los Angeles voters, in fact, had rejected a ballot measure to fund a $4.5 million bond to build a baseball stadium on May 31, 1955, meaning any team relocating there would have to privately finance a ballpark.
Initially, she wrote a letter to O’Malley on September 1, 1955, asking for a meeting with him to gauge his interest in relocating. One year prior to that, the City Clerk, per approval by the Los Angeles City Council, sent a letter to major league baseball team owners asking them to consider L.A. as a site for their team. Officials, who were convinced that it was only a matter of time before one of them accepted the offer, were making preparations to review possible locations for a ballpark. Los Angeles played home to two Pacific Coast League teams, the Los Angeles Angels who played at Wrigley Field at 42nd and Avalon and the Hollywood Stars, who played at Gilmore Field on Beverly Boulevard. But, that was minor league baseball, not the majors.
O’Malley responded to Wyman on September 7, 1955 that “I doubt very much that I could see you during the period when you will be in New York as we will all be preoccupied in concluding this year’s pennant race and preparing for the World Series...Los Angeles at present has two teams in organized baseball and we would not want to be a party to any publicity which might be construed to be detrimental to their franchises.”1
His focus was clearly on working out a solution to aging Ebbets Field in Brooklyn by building a new domed stadium, the first of its kind in baseball, at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. He had begun the process of addressing Ebbets Field as early as 1946, four years prior to becoming President of the Dodgers, and continued his painstaking work over the next decade with elected and appointed officials to bring about a resolution at the site he preferred in Brooklyn.
But, the Los Angeles contingent of Wyman, Mayor Norris Poulson and legendary L.A. County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn were persuaded that a major league baseball team was necessary in order for the city to finally gain the status it was looking for in the 1950s — big league in every way.
Playing with the “big boys” in an era in which women were beginning to advance into politics, never stopped pioneer Wyman from realizing her dreams and the early shaping of Los Angeles as one of the premier destinations and places to live.
“I think the government needs women,”2 she said in 1957.
During the summer of 1957, Mayor Poulson dispatched Harold “Chad” McClellan to New York as the official negotiator on behalf of the City and County of Los Angeles to meet with O’Malley and the Dodgers. As negotiations progressed, it was crystal clear that O’Malley wanted to privately-finance, design, build and maintain Dodger Stadium. He was looking for a site to build his dream stadium.

1 Letter from Walter O’Malley to Roz Wyman, Councilwoman — Fifth District, Los Angeles, September 7, 1955.
2 Anne Norman, Los Angeles Times, Roz Wyman Has Simple Method to Win Votes; She Rings District Doorbells and Gets to People, April 7, 1957.

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On September 1, 1955, Roz Wyman, Los Angeles City Councilwoman, sends a letter to Dodger President Walter O’Malley asking if she and Ed Roybal, another member of the Council, could meet with him in New York. Wyman wanted to discuss the possibility of bringing the Dodgers to Los Angeles. O’Malley, who was focused on trying to find a way to build a dome stadium in Brooklyn, wrote her and declined her offer.

A proud day indeed for Los Angeles, as its Mayor Norris Poulson and City Council members celebrate the Dodgers acceptance of the city’s contract offer on October 8, 1957. First row behind Poulson (left to right) are council members Ransom Callicott, Roz Wyman, Gordon Hahn and Charles Navarro, while behind them (left to right) are John Gibson, L.E Timberlake, James Corman and Everett Burkhalter.

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

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