Go west, young man. Manifest Destiny. America was so great that expansion westward was preordained. When Walter O’Malley took the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1957, he wasn’t such a young man, but his move to the west absolutely exemplified the idea that baseball was supposed to exist throughout the nation. And when O’Malley and the Dodgers made the move, he convinced the Giants to go with him, and the game was forever changed. More than 628 million fans have gone to ballparks on the west coast since then.
O’Malley was nearly as influential in his hires. He brought on Buzzie Bavasi in 1951 to replace Branch Rickey. Today Bavasi is a member of the HoME. He brought in Walter Alston for the 1954 season, and Alston ran the Dodgers for just about 23 years. Today, Alston is also a HoMEr. After Alston stepped down, O’Mally installed Hall of Famer Tommy LaSorda, and the Dodgers were set in the dugout for nearly 20 more seasons. A fourth incredible O’Malley hire was announcer Vin Scully. Hired in O’Malley’s first year running the team, Scully just retired after 67 years announcing Dodger games. Under O’Malley, the Dodgers were the most stable franchise in the game.
And they were one of the best. From the 1950 campaign until his 1979 death, the Dodgers went to eleven World Series, winning four of them. After the Dodgers lost seven straight times in the Fall Classic, O’Malley finally brought them their first and only victory in Brooklyn in 1955. Four years later, he won his first of three in Los Angeles.
Walter O’Malley is now a member of the Hall of Miller and Eric. That means there are only four more to go to fill our Pioneer/Executive wing.