LET THERE BE MORE LIGHT
It is Sports Illustrated's business to be concerned with baseball. Even more, however, it is our pleasure to be concerned with baseball, for we are fans, too. Last week, like several million other fans across the country, we became completely fed up with all the gobbledygook about franchise shifts and suggested it was perhaps high time that the paying public was let in on the secret (E&D, July 22).
The request was aimed at Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick and the two semitransient club owners, Walter O'Malley of the Dodgers and Horace Stoneham of the Giants. The day our magazine hit the newsstands, we received an answer—but not from Mr. Frick, who might be expected to be the spokesman in this matter, or even from Mr. O'Malley, who had done most of the talking, without really saying very much, up to that time. It came instead from Horace Stoneham. Not a very complete answer, true, but at least something.
In a news conference Mr. Stoneham said that he would (a) recommend to his board of directors ( Stoneham and his sister, Mrs. Charles F. Aufderhar, own approximately 60% of the stock) that 1957 be the Giants' last year at the Polo Grounds, (b) "consider" a proposition to keep the Giants in New York by moving several miles east if the city would build them a ball park in the Baychester area and permit the Giants to play there at a "reasonable rental," (c) as an alternative to this, recommend moving into Yankee Stadium, "but certainly not under the terms I have read about," and (d) recommend to his board of directors that the Giants move away from New York completely, to San Francisco, if that city offered a "suitable proposal."
Mr. Stoneham also said, among other things, that the Giants had to get away from the Polo Grounds because of inadequate transportation and parking facilities, and that a Skiatron pay-as-you-watch West Coast television contract had nothing to do with it. He also said that he didn't believe New York City was going to build him another ball park; that he was not interested in Park Commissioner Robert Moses' proposed Flushing Meadows site (SI, July 22); that the moving of his ball club was not in any way contingent upon the Dodgers also moving to Los Angeles; and that he had not really heard anything from San Francisco interests since May 12.
All this as an owner. Speaking strictly as a fan—and there is no bigger baseball fan among major league club owners than Horace Stoneham—he said quite simply: "I believe the Giants will move to San Francisco." It was probably the most important thing he said.
The press conference admittedly cast a certain amount of light on a subject which could stand a great deal more. But Mr. Stoneham, having spoken, refused to speak further.
"He doesn't want to say any more," said a Giant official, "until he has something more to say." An admirable policy, to be sure, but had Mr. Stoneham really said all there was to say?
Why, for example, did he even bring up the subject of a city-built ball park in Baychester if he is so sure the city won't build it?
Why not Flushing Meadows?