For many New Yorkers, the removal of the Brooklyn Dodgers--perhaps the most popular baseball team of all time--to Los Angeles in 1957 remains one of the most traumatic events since World War II. Neil J. Sullivan's controversial reassessment of a story that has reached almost mythic proportions in its many retellings shifts responsibility for the move onto the local governmental maneuverings that occurred on both sides of the continent. Conventional wisdom has it that Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley cold-heartedly abandoned the devoted Brooklyn fans for the easy money of Los Angeles. Sullivan argues that O'Malley had, in fact, wanted to stay in Brooklyn, hoping to build a new stadium with his own money. Situated in an increasingly unsafe neighborhood and without parking facilities, Ebbets Field had become obsolete. Yet an uncooperative New York City administration, led by Robert Moses, blocked O'Malley's plan to use the ideal site at the Atlantic Avenue Long Island Railroad terminal. A political battle over the Dodgers' move also erupted in Los Angeles. Mayor Poulson's suggestion to use Chavez Ravine as the new stadium site triggered opposition from residents concerned about a giveaway. Eventually a telethon campaign that enlisted the help of celebrities such as Groucho Marx, George Burns, and Ronald Reagan enabled the approval of the deal. Set against a backdrop of sporting passion and rivalry, and appearing over thirty years after the Dodgers' last season in Brooklyn, this engrossing book offers new insights into the power struggles existing in the nation's two largest cities.
- Publication Date:
- 04 / 06 / 1987