SI Vault
August 29, 1955
O'Malley's moving finger writes, Time-clock golf, Japan improves on poor butterfly, Medical annal in the Channel, Boxing's newest look-see, The down under view of tennis
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August 29, 1955

Events & Discoveries

O'Malley's moving finger writes, Time-clock golf, Japan improves on poor butterfly, Medical annal in the Channel, Boxing's newest look-see, The down under view of tennis

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In 1913, the year of its construction, Ebbets Field was a many-splendored ball park. Of course, being in Brooklyn, it couldn't be perfect—on opening day the baseball writers discovered someone had forgotten to build a press box, and the bleacher fans couldn't get in because someone else had neglected to bring a key to unlock the gates. But it was quite satisfactory.

Things change. In 1913 the Brooklyn Dodgers could make a good living even in a ball park of modest size. Mighty few fans had been tempted to take up golf or sunbathing or—for that matter—television. In 1913, furthermore, there was no such thing as suburbia and there were only 1,000,000 automobiles in the whole U.S. All of which pinpoints the current troubles of the Brooklyn Dodgers and President Walter F. O'Malley. With an outmoded ball park seating only 32,111 the Dodgers have to compete with a wide new universe of sports and recreations—and draw motorized suburbia to an Ebbets Field with no place to park.

There was dismay in Brooklyn when O'Malley first announced last week the Dodgers would play seven "home" games in 1956 in Jersey City. ("They can't do this to us," said a Brooklyn tugboat man named Bill Murray. "If Jersey wants a baseball team, let them get their own. The Dodgers belong in Brooklyn.") Two days later the faces of Flatbush fell even further when O'Malley spoke again: "After the 1957 season," he said, "we are selling Ebbets Field."

The smart businessman president of the Dodgers evidently wasn't fooling, and he told startled city officials exactly what he wanted: a wonderfully handy plot of good land in downtown Brooklyn where the Dodgers could, for $6 million or so, construct a neat Twenty-first Century ball park seating over 50,000 and with lots of parking space. "We don't want the city to build us a stadium," he said. "All we want is help in acquiring the land at a reasonable price."

Borough President John Cashmore and New York's Mayor Robert Wagner, equally alarmed over losing the Dodgers, appeared ready to help—and Cashmore even had a plan: condemn the proposed stadium area as a long-needed civic-betterment project. Then another interested group turned up: the New York Giants, whose lease on the Polo Grounds runs out in 1962. Said Owner Horace Stoneham: "If the city can help the Dodgers, it can certainly help us, too." Said Mayor Wagner: "We certainly want to help both teams in any way possible," and promised to bring the question before the city's Board of Estimate right away.

Actually the Giants' problem failed to match that of the Dodgers—they are perfectly welcome to move across the Harlem River at any time and sublet Yankee Stadium, one of the finest parks in baseball, for the Yankees' out-of-town days. Of course, if the Dodgers are willing to move far enough, they have no problem either—in the first few days after his announcement O'Malley received dozens of telegrams and letters offering the Dodgers a home in such places as North Jersey, Long Island and assorted "western and southwestern cities." But O'Malley agreed with the tugboat man, Bill Murray—the Dodgers belong in Brooklyn. How to keep them there was the problem; and it might remain an unsolved one right up to 1958.


At the end of the first day of the Midwest Industrial Golf Tournament, Republic Steel was tied with General Electric Jet Engines at 282. This happened last Saturday at Canton, Ohio, where 456 golf-playing automobile workers, papermill employees, rubber-factory workers, glassmakers, tinsmiths, precision instrument technicians and foundry hands met in the biggest tournament in history and played superlative golf.

How good it was is suggested by some comparative figures. Canton's Tarn O'Shanter is an old, conservative club at the edge of a fashionable residential section, with a par 70 for one 18-hole course known as The Hills, and a par 71 for the much tougher 18 known as The Dales. The record for each course is 64, and no pro has ever bettered it. None of the golfing workmen on hand last week bettered it either, but Robert Farber, a crane operator with Republic Steel at Massillon, Ohio and Harry Olson of the Argonne Laboratories of Chicago both had 68s.

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