Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It Took Two To Tango

From USA Today, a nice little story on Horace Stoneham, the Giants owner who -- contrary to popular belief -- did not "follow" O'Malley and the Dodgers out west:

The celebrations of the 50th anniversary of baseball's move to the West Coast invariably start with one name: Walter O'Malley. The man he couldn't have done it without is usually overlooked.

Horace Stoneham, owner of the New York/San Francisco Giants, played as important a role in the geographical expansion of Major League Baseball as his Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers counterpart . . . Stoneham, who died in 1990, didn't follow O'Malley to the West Coast — National League owners approved the move contingent on at least two teams relocating.
I don't know much about Stoneham, but I do like the fact that, according to the article, he was a baseball guy and a baseball guy only. No car dealerships. No newspaper or TV consortiums. His one and only business was running a baseball team. Maybe that isn't the wisest financial decision, but there's something to love about it.

1 comment:

Travis M. Nelson said...

I don't think anyone means that Stoneham "followed" O'Malley out there in the sense that one went first and the other joined him later. Generally I've heard it described as O'Malley's idea, and that he had to pitch it to Stoneham, who was not a visionary in any true sense. I read and reviewed an excellent book on the Dodger's departure for the Left Coast a few years ago, and author Michael Shapiro described the situation this way:

"O'Malley was not the sort to wait for events to unfold around him. He was not at all like his rival Horace Stoneham, who owned the New York Giants. Stoneham was an owner by way of inheritance, a rich boy with too great a fondness for Dewars White Label scotch. Horace Stoneham's Giants drew half the fans the Dodgers did, and their sorry attendance was bolstered only by those eleven games when the Dodgers traveled to northern Manhattan, to the Polo Grounds. Stoneham talked about moving his team out of New York altogether, maybe even to Minneapolis. But he was a man whose talk did not merit serious attention. He was not a mover. He was not Walter O'Malley."