On this date in 2007, Walter O’Malley was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee posthumously for the 2008 induction class.
O’Malley was responsible for bringing the Dodgers to Los Angeles from Brooklyn in 1958, making them the first team west of Kansas City. He was also the man who helped fund, design and build Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962, which is often credited as his crowning achievement in his career. O’Malley was also responsible for Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida and made it one of the top Spring Training sites in all of baseball.
The former Dodger owner was officially inducted on July 27, 2008, in Cooperstown, New York. He was placed in the “Pioneers/Executives” category in the Hall of Fame. O’Malley passed away in 1979 and was recognized for his achievements almost 30 years later.
He took over the team in 1950 and was the owner until his death 29 years later. Before then, he became a part-owner in 1944. Under his ownership, the Dodgers won 11 National League pennants and four World Series titles. The Dodgers won championships in 1955, 1959, 1963 and 1965 and became one of the top teams in attendance every year. He also made sure that ticket prices remained the same throughout the years to provide an affordable experience. In 1978, the Dodgers became the first team to have three million home fans in their history.
The Dodgers made two trips to Japan to play exhibition games against their local teams in 1955 and 1956 that were named the Goodwill Tours. There are seven other players or coaches that worked under O’Malley that are also in the Hall of Fame, as well as four broadcasters that are in the Hall of Fame. On July 9, 2009, Los Angeles declared the day Walter O’Malley Day and a plaque was unveiled at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Coliseum.
O’Malley is often credited with being one of the most influential men, not just in baseball history, but in sports history.
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