The O’Malley family has been part of the Los Angeles/Brooklyn Dodger family for many years. It was under Walter O’Malley’s direction that the franchise relocated from Brooklyn to the West Coast in 1958.
O’Malley owned the Dodgers from 1950-1979, and prior to that was a part owner when the team signed the Jackie Robinson in 1945. Robinson of course went on to become the first African American player in Majors. When O’Malley passed in 1979 his son Peter inherited a share of the Dodgers; he would go on to own the team for 20 years.
As a child, Peter traveled with his father and their National League Champion Dodgers to Japan in 1956 where he was exposed to the passionate Japanese baseball fans. Upon taking part ownership of the Dodgers, he decided to start an outreach program in Japan.
In all, Peter made 85 trips to Japan and signed one of the most successful Japanese players in baseball history, Hideo Nomo, who pitched for the Dodgers from 19995-1998 and 2002-2004.
During a recent Dodgers home game, Peter was awarded The Order of the Rising Sun 3rd Class Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon for promoting friendly relations between the United States and Japan through ways of baseball, a high honor for someone of non-Japanese decent.
Th Order of the Rising Sun was established on April 10, 1875 by Emperor Meji and contains six classes of awards with the highest being 1st Class, Grand Cordon. It is also awarded in the current emperors name, Emperor Akihito.
While the O’Malley family sold the team to Fox and considered placing a bid when Frank McCourt was forced to sell, Peter spoke kindly of the Guggenheim group. “The Dodgers are in good hands and they will remain in first place for many years,” he said. In the years Peter owned the Dodgers, the team made it to five League Championship Series and three World Series, winning two of them.