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Was Dodgers' Fate Sealed in 1950?

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  • Was Dodgers' Fate Sealed in 1950?

    I believe that Walter O'Malley intended to move the Dodgers out of Brooklyn long before his insincere battles with Parks Commissioner Moses.

    In the 1940s, Team Attorney O'Malley and President Branch Rickey each owned 25%. O'Malley didn't like Rickey and routinely criticized him.

    In 1950, when Rickey's contract was up for renewal, O'Malley offered him a far less lucrative contract, knowing he'd balk. Thus, out of a job, Rickey became willing to divest himself of his 1/4 interest in an organization that no longer wanted him. He sold his shares to a friend, who then sold them to O'Malley for $1.1 million.

    Rickey was also a shrewd businessman, and while they didn't always get along, he and O'Malley had shared ownership in the Dodgers sinced 1944.

    I wonder if Rickey might have known of O'Malley's intentions, when he sold his shares in 1950.

  • #2
    I don't think there is any real evidence to support your proposition other than conjecture. Pushing Rickey out was just O'Malley taking total control of the club.
    Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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    • #3
      I don't think Rickey had any heads up on the move. Remember O'Malley was put there by the head of Brooklyn Trust Bank (I forget his name) I think if Rickey had and headup that the move was possible be may have gone to the folks at BT and tried to work around O'Malley.

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      • #4
        The Brooklyn Trust Company executive was George McLaughlin.

        I don't think Rickey knew O'Malley's plans, but O'Malley had been undercutting Rickey whenever possible almost from Day One. O'Malley had gotten control of the 25 percent owned by John Smith, who had died. Rickey's departure was related to his salary and percentage from player sales--O'Malley wanted to stop that.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Michael Green View Post
          The Brooklyn Trust Company executive was George McLaughlin.

          I don't think Rickey knew O'Malley's plans, but O'Malley had been undercutting Rickey whenever possible almost from Day One. O'Malley had gotten control of the 25 percent owned by John Smith, who had died. Rickey's departure was related to his salary and percentage from player sales--O'Malley wanted to stop that.
          True-Rickey had gotten a piece of the action on player sales since at least his Cardinal days. I think once Rickey left O'Malley started getting visions of glory. If Rickey could make a splash by bringing in Jackie Robinson then O'Malley had to top that. And he certainly ended up doing so.:dismay:

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          • #6
            Was dodgers' fate

            Michael green was correct, o'malley didn't like the fact that rickey was getting his percentage when he sold players. he felt he was making too much money and had too much control over player change. the value of the franchise was valued at 2 million dollars in 1950, making each of the 25% shares worth 1/4 million, rickey never sold the 25% he owned to a friend, but he got william zeckendorf to make a phoney bid for his 25% share for
            $1,050,000. since the agreement between all 4 owners was that they would have right of first refusal on any bid, and could match it. o'malley had no choice but to pay it because #1- he wanted to be the majority owner, and #2, he was afraid of zeckendorf's wealth, and his ability to buy out the other owners. after rickey recd. his check from o'malley, a check was then issued to zeckendorf for $50,000 as his commision for acting as the shill.
            an interesting sidelight to that zeckendorf transaction, i have read that o'malley was concerned about zeckendorf's real eastate connections would provide a site for a new ballpark, and maybe o'malley did have plans for LA as far back as 1950.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by aqib View Post
              I don't think Rickey had any heads up on the move. Remember O'Malley was put there by the head of Brooklyn Trust Bank (I forget his name) I think if Rickey had and headup that the move was possible be may have gone to the folks at BT and tried to work around O'Malley.
              I just finished Lowenfish's biography of Branch Rickey and according to the book, Rickey knew almost from the start that O'Malley was maneuvering to take over the presidency of the Dodgers and that once John Smith died he probably knew he was out, since Smith was his only ally on the board. It wasn't hard for O'Malley to convince the remaining members to sell to him, because of several moves that Rickey made including building Vero Beach, funding a Brooklyn Dodgers football team (Rickey thought that civic pride would make this venture a success. It flopped. This may be a reason why O'Malley didn't care aboout the civic pride arguement when the Dodgers moved), and Rickey nearly getting hinself sued for slander by Max Lanier and Fred Martin for saying they had 'communist tendencies' for jumping to the Mexican League. O'Malley smoothed this over and convinced the players lawyer to drop the suit. O'Malley told the opposing lawyer that Rickey was a 'fool' for the name calling. Rickey's bonuses were a factor in his being pushed out, but they weren't the only reason.

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