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January 27, 1958
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January 27, 1958

Events & Discoveries

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Gentlemen," said him and his big fat cigar, "I will guarantee you $400,000 for the two years. That is a fair price, a dignified price. I urge you to accept or reject it. Should you reject it, I would not complain but accept your democratic decision. I think, however, you should know I will not negotiate any further."

Every baseball fan knew that Walter O'Malley would run out of cigars long before he ran out of words, and even as he said these last ones to the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, he was still puffing vigorously on his cigar.

The result? Are you kidding? Why the Dodgers—the Los Angeles Dodgers, that is—are going to play ball for at least two years in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

After that? Why by then baseball will really be popular with the natives, and Walter O'Malley will be able to write his own ticket.


Walter O'Malley and his problem of bedding down his émigrés in their new Los Angeles home was not the only baseball news that made headlines last week.

When he was invited to appear at a Boston dinner and receive the applause of the Boston baseball writers, Jimmy Foxx, a truly fabulous baseball player who retired from the game in 1945 and whose bust now rests in the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., had to decline because he was flat broke and had been in more or less the same sad financial condition for about 10 years. Whereas almost everyone knew that Jimmy Foxx's predicament was largely the result of human shortcomings that are all too common, it was heartening to observe the flood of offers that came in to solve his problem. Some of these offers, to be sure, were made out of varying degrees of self-interest, but the observation still stands that on the whole response to the knowledge of the sad plight of Jimmy Foxx was reassuring.

It may be, though, his bust in the Hall of Fame notwithstanding, that Jimmy Foxx will gain his most lasting fame as a heroic statistic in the march of social progress. If Jimmy had been a year younger, he would have started his baseball career a year later and thus he might have been eligible for the fancy new pension that he and his bat helped to create for all baseball players of the future. The pension system that would have given Jimmy Foxx a handsome stipend for life went into effect just one year after Jimmy wore himself out hitting home runs. Social progress is never retroactive even though those who helped make the progress possible can only stand and watch and want.


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