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It is true that Moses wanted a new stadium in Queens and fought the Dodgers' plan for one in Brooklyn. But O'Malley's efforts to stay in Brooklyn were halfhearted at best; he got what he really wanted—additional millions in California.
For one of my first books Walter O'Malley graciously provided me with a fiscal breakdown for the Dodgers' season of 1953. He was better than doubling his investment with the Dodgers every year. Then why move? Because Ebbets Field was old? So were Wrigley Field and Fenway. Nothing wrong with Ebbets that a little remodeling couldn't have fixed. But for motivation try this: O'Malley's hated rival, Branch Rickey, had revolutionized baseball by signing Jackie Robinson. O'Malley liked money, but he longed more passionately to equal or surpass Rickey in the annals. That is the underlying reason behind the pioneering voyage to California.
Michael D'Antonio's assertion that O'Malley was the villain of my book The Boys of Summer is a tad balmy. His dismissing the book as "nostalgia" seems even sillier. In The Boys we see Clem Labine grieving over a son who lost a leg in Vietnam. We meet Roy Campanella struggling for and achieving dignity as a quadriplegic. We attend the funeral of Jackie Robinson Jr., who returned from Vietnam a doomed heroin addict, and watch the father weep inconsolably. If there is any villain in The Boys, it is time and what it does to all of us.
DirecTV is quite flattered SI thought so highly of our advertising creative that you decided the idea would make a cool cover. As you know, this print campaign (left) debuted in your Dec. 12 Pictures of the Year issue.
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