All this proved irritating to the assembled members of the press. One writer passed Arthur Patterson, the Dodgers' publicity man. Sourly he said, "A waste of time. This was nothing."
Patterson stared in amazement.
"Nothing?" he demanded. "The mayor of San Francisco flies across the country just to talk to Stoneham, and you think it's nothing?"
The newspaperman shrugged and went out. Patterson shook his head.
Perhaps it was nothing (though in that case it was a damned expensive lunch). Perhaps the Giants will remain the New York Giants and continue to play in the antiquated museum called the Polo Grounds, rather than in a sleek, modern baseball theater like the one San Francisco promises, or like the imposing one Minneapolis built (see page 32) just to dangle temptingly under Stoneham's nose.
Perhaps Stoneham has definitely refused Minneapolis and positively turned down San Francisco. Perhaps he intends to keep his Giants forever in Manhattan, squeezed between Coogan's Bluff and the Harlem River. Perhaps the whole thing is nothing, all this talk of moving.
But don't bet on it.
Horace Stoneham doesn't talk as much as Walter O'Malley, and he has no compulsion for forcing events, like O'Malley. But when the situation demands drastic action, Stoneham throws the dice with the best of them. Consider the dramatic hiring of Leo Durocher, the startling trade that brought Alvin Dark and Eddie Stanky to the Giants, the calculated dealing off of the hero, Bobby Thomson.
Currently, Stoneham is fondling the dice again. He is aware of the situation. It is drastic.
Attendance at the Polo Grounds in 1954, the year the Giants won the pennant and the World Championship, was 1,155,067, a very pleasant but hardly spectacular figure. In 1955 the Giants lost their good second baseman, Dave Williams, when spinal arthritis forced him to retire at 26. They released washed-up Monte Irvin, once their most valuable player, and sold Sal Maglie, their pitching hero of heroes. They managed to finish third, but attendance fell 330,955, by far the worst decline in the major leagues. Volatile Leo Durocher resigned as manager. The relatively colorless Bill Rigney was hired in his place.