Mover and Shaker: Walter O’Malley, the Dodgers, & Baseball’s Westward Expansion
Walter O’Malley’s culpability for the Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angeles is thoroughly covered in this book as is the account of his struggles when he got to Los Angeles. Andy McCue covers this with an expert’s hand as he does with O’Malley’s Tammany Hall background, Los Angeles politics of the mid twentieth century and of course his conflict with New York powerful public official Robert Moses in this highly readable account of perhaps the most influential baseball owner of the last century.
McCue takes apart the New York press’s account of a cynical and calculated real estate grab as he exposes O’Malley’s lack of planning for the move to California. He destroys the myth that O’Malley dragged the Giants out of New York. They had already decided to leave, O’Malley just influenced the destination (Giants owner Horace Stoneham owned the territorial rights to Minneapolis and was going to move there).
The crux of the book is the complications in leaving Brooklyn and moving to Los Angeles. Basically it was Brooklyn’s inertia vs the aggressiveness of Los Angeles. The facts that L.A. politicians made promises they couldn’t keep and that New York public officials could have easily kept the team are well documented.
The book suffers a bit from the lack of cooperation from O’Malley’s children and close confidants of both Walter and Peter O’Malley. McCue counters that by performing solid research in this heavily annotated tome with a full index and bibliography.
If you are interested in the details of baseball’s backroom machinations during the 1940’s to the 1970s; the blow by blow account of building Dodger Stadium and the true story of the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn, including a highly credible analysis of his motivation for moving his team and family across the country, then I highly recommend Mover & Shaker by Andy McCue.