Walter O'Malley Biography

Business Leader (1903–1979)
Walter O'Malley was the influential president of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for nearly 30 years.


As president of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers—and the man who moved the team to the West Coast—Walter O'Malley built his reputation as one of the most influential team owners of his era (1950–79). He served on MLB’s decision-making Executive Council for 28 years, the longest tenure of any owner. In recognition of his work, O'Malley was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Baseball Achievements

Baseball executive, born in the Bronx, New York, USA on October 9, 1903.

Walter F. O'Malley established a legacy as one of sport's top visionaries, building a first-class organization based on long-term stability and success. As President of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, O'Malley inscribed his reputation as, perhaps, the most influential team owner of his era (1950-79). In recognition of his accomplishments, O'Malley was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee on December 3, 2007.

In his pioneering - and controversial - move of the Brooklyn Dodgers to the West Coast, he advanced the nationwide expansion and success of baseball. O'Malley's crowning achievement was designing, privately financing and building Dodger Stadium, the finest baseball ballpark of its time and, more than 40 years after it opened on April 10, 1962, remains as one of Los Angeles' most recognizable and popular landmarks. Family-friendly ticket prices remained unchanged under O'Malley for 18 seasons (1958-75).


In December 1999, The Sporting News named O'Malley as the 11th Most Powerful Person in all Sports in the 20th Century. That same year, ABC Sports ranked O'Malley 8th in its Top 10 Most Influential People "Off the Field" in all sports history as voted by the Sports Century panel.

Walter F. O'Malley served on Major League Baseball's decision-making Executive Council for 28 years (1951-78), the longest tenure of any owner. He was involved in radio and television, promotion, marketing, legal affairs, player relations and pensions.

Dodger Success During Tenure

The Dodgers became an emblematic organization based on success on the field, at the turnstiles and stability. During his presidency and as Chairman of the Board (1950-79), the Dodgers finished first or second place 20 times, won 11 National League Pennants and four World Championships (1955, 1959, 1963 and 1965). The Dodgers regularly shattered and established attendance records and were the first team to draw three million fans (3,347,845) through the turnstiles at Dodger Stadium in 1978. They set the all-time major league record at 93,103 fans for an exhibition game in tribute to Roy Campanella against the New York Yankees on May 7, 1959 at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. As President and Dodger Chairman of the Board, O'Malley employed just three managers from 1951-79; three General Managers (1951-1979); two farm directors (1951-79); and three scouting directors (1951-79). In 1954, the Dodgers were the first Major League Baseball team to offer radio broadcasts of selected games in Spanish-language. O'Malley continued and later expanded the Spanish-language radio broadcasts beginning in 1958 in Los Angeles.

Building international relationships and working to expand the game globally, O'Malley's teams made two goodwill tours to Japan (1956 and 1966) and frequently hosted foreign visiting teams and dignitaries at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL.

Peter O'Malley was named President of the Dodgers on March 17, 1970, succeeding his father Walter, who became Dodger Chairman of the Board until his passing on August 9, 1979. The combined O'Malley family legacy in baseball lasted more than 50 years.

Biography courtesy of Brent Shyer. 2007

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