Former Dodger Owner and former Brooklyn outfielder to be enshrined during the 50th Anniversary of the Los Angeles DodgersFormer Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodger owner Walter O’Malley and former Brooklyn Dodger outfielder Dick Williams will be honored among baseball’s elite with their election today into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as selected by the Veterans Committee.
O’Malley, who passed away in 1979 at age 75 joins two other former Dodger executives so honored: Branch Rickey (inducted in 1967), who served as club president from 1942-50 and Larry MacPhail (1978), who preceded Rickey as president from 1938-42.
This year’s induction ceremonies will be held on Sunday, July 27, 2008 at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , N.Y.
During his 29-year tenure with the Dodgers, which included 19 seasons as club president (1951-69) and 10 years as Chairman of the Board (1970-79), Walter O’Malley earned a reputation as an innovator.
“This is a historic day for the Dodger franchise," said Dodger Owner and Chairman Frank McCourt. "Walter O'Malley was a visionary who changed the face of baseball forever and we couldn't be more proud to see him earn his rightful spot in Cooperstown . We’re very excited for both him and Dick Williams as they join the many Dodger players, managers and executives in the Hall of Fame."
It was O’Malley who brought Major League Baseball to the West Coast when the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. Four years after their arrival, the Dodgers moved into Dodger Stadium, the first privately financed ballpark since Yankee Stadium in 1923.
O’Malley also oversaw the building of Dodgertown in Vero Beach , FL , the first privately financed year-round baseball facility.
In December 1999, O’Malley was recognized by The Sporting News as the 11th most powerful person in sports over the last century. More information can be found about O’Malley at his official website www.walteromalley.com
Williams, the only living honoree among the five who will be inducted next summer, played for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1951-1954 and again in 1956 before moving on to a Hall of Fame managerial career. In five seasons with Brooklyn , Williams batted .232 (52-for-224) with four homers and 23 RBI. He appeared in three games during the 1953 World Series.
This season, the Dodgers will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the team's move to California with a series of events, beginning with a float in the Rose Parade on January 1, 2008.