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Was Horace Stoneham a patsy?

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  • Was Horace Stoneham a patsy?

    The consensus seems to be that Horace Stoneham was conned by Walter O'Malley into moving to SF.

    Even if that were true it could be argued that O'Malley saved him from himself.

    The Giants may have had the smallest share of the NY baseball pie but surely even that was preferable to being top dog in Minnesota

  • #2
    why don't you go to the "Roger Kahn..." thread, or the "If Joan Payson ..." thread, where this topic is already being discussed?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by westsidegrounds View Post
      why don't you go to the "Roger Kahn..." thread, or the "If Joan Payson ..." thread, where this topic is already being discussed?
      Stoneham's savvy (or lack thereof) is mentioned tangentially in those threads admittedly but the whole rationale behind moving to Minnesota just strikes me as bizarre & worthy of debate in its own right.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Meadowlark View Post
        The consensus seems to be that Horace Stoneham was conned by Walter O'Malley into moving to SF.

        Even if that were true it could be argued that O'Malley saved him from himself.

        The Giants may have had the smallest share of the NY baseball pie but surely even that was preferable to being top dog in Minnesota

        A patsy would almost imply that he was dooped into the area, but honestly, the thought of the potential profit must have appealed to him. The Seals were a very successful PCL team, and i'm sure that both he and the O'Malley saw dollar signs. I honestly just think he was a bad buisnessman.

        First, he went to the area of Candlestick once, and decided that he would put his park in that spot, without realizing that the area is ridiculously cold at night. When you look at how some teams will really research an area for years before they move, and how he did it, its really mind boggling. When the low-income housing was put up near 155'th, it certainly didn't help filling the seats. I don't think the Polo Grounds themself were as bad as some say, but it didn't seem like he put any money back into the old ballpark. In fact, taking down the old architechture in the upper deck might have been the only real thing he did. Also, broadcasting all the home games, even with a lucrative television deal wasn't the smartest idea. Stoneham could have said no, and stuck with Minnesota, or even attempted to go to Flushing Queens, but the thought of being the only northern California team had to have some appeal.

        So in answer to your question, I think he was his own worst enemy.

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        • #5
          Horace was certainly no patsy when it came to wheeling and dealing for players and had Candlestink Park been less of an abomination perhaps the portly chap would have been blessed with a better reputation as a businessman.
          ---
          Pushing on the doors of life marked "pull."
          Visit my blogsigpic

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MattM View Post
            A patsy would almost imply that he was dooped into the area, but honestly, the thought of the potential profit must have appealed to him. The Seals were a very successful PCL team, and i'm sure that both he and the O'Malley saw dollar signs. I honestly just think he was a bad buisnessman.

            First, he went to the area of Candlestick once, and decided that he would put his park in that spot, without realizing that the area is ridiculously cold at night. When you look at how some teams will really research an area for years before they move, and how he did it, its really mind boggling. When the low-income housing was put up near 155'th, it certainly didn't help filling the seats. I don't think the Polo Grounds themself were as bad as some say, but it didn't seem like he put any money back into the old ballpark. In fact, taking down the old architechture in the upper deck might have been the only real thing he did. Also, broadcasting all the home games, even with a lucrative television deal wasn't the smartest idea. Stoneham could have said no, and stuck with Minnesota, or even attempted to go to Flushing Queens, but the thought of being the only northern California team had to have some appeal.

            So in answer to your question, I think he was his own worst enemy.
            He was such a bad businessman that he blundered his way into a free ballpark and nine straight years of above-league-average attendance.

            "Poor Horace!"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Meadowlark View Post
              S...the whole rationale behind moving to Minnesota just strikes me as bizarre & worthy of debate in its own right.
              With hindsight, sure, but at the time:

              Boston Braves attendance 1952: 281,000
              Milwaukee Braves att. 1953: 1,826,000

              In 1957 the Milwaukee Braves drew over two million fans for the fourth year in a row, at a time when the NL average hovered around one million.

              So, there's the rationale ...
              Last edited by westsidegrounds; 07-23-2008, 06:36 PM.

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              • #8
                Horace thought he couldn't make it being #3 in NY and he was comparing being #3 in NY vs. being #1 somewhere else. What he never considered was being #2 in NY without the Dodgers. But here were the roadblocks he had to being #2 once the Dodgers made it clear (behind closed doors of course) that they were leaving:

                1) Could he pick up the Dodger fans the same way the Mets picked up both Giants and Dodgers fans being the NY Giants. I posed the question on the Dodger board and the answer was no, but again we are talking hypotheticals here they were never confronted with that scenario.

                2) Without the home dates vs the Brooklyn Dodgers what would his attendance be

                3) Dodgers will vote against a move that doesn't include them leaving too. They vetoed the move to Minnesota a year earlier. The Dodgers can't go to LA unless the Giants go to San Fran.

                So again the villian is O'Malley, he wouldn't leave without Stoneham and he wouldn't let Stoneham leave without him.

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                • #9
                  No... not at least in the way it was phased. If Stoneham was going to move, he was going to move no matter what O'Malley thought. Whether it be to Minnesota or California. One can debate whether he should of moved at all. One can debate Minneapolis or San Francisco was the better market.

                  It is my personal belief knowing what we know now is that in the end San Fran was not the smart move. Most of this is based off something than Stoneham could not have known.... the A's move to Oakland.

                  Whether San Fran would have been a much better move with the A's move is debatable (there was a drop in attendance before the A's moved out).

                  What I think is most concrete is that LA was/is a better a market than San Fran.

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                  • #10
                    I always thought Stoneham was a patsy but now I know better. From what I've seen at this site and in books Stoneham would have moved to Minneapolis sooner or later had O'Malley not approached him with the dual move idea. Had that happened, I suspect the Giants' history in Minnesota would have been somewhat identical to what happened to them in SF-the 10 years of gold, then the decline, A's or no A's. That's what happened when the original Senators moved to MN-by the mid 1970's the Twins were hardly in better shape than the Giants financially and Calvin Griffith was talking about selling or moving again. Patsy-no. Not so great businessman-probably. And that's the irony, because Stoneham, like Griffith, relied on his team as his source of personal income.

                    I suspect Stoneham figured it might be easier to make money by following the rage of the times and move rather than stick it out in New York. After seeing the Braves example I suppose he couldn't be blamed for that viewpoint-but it doesn't make it morally right.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nymetsgiantspolo View Post
                      No... not at least in the way it was phased. If Stoneham was going to move, he was going to move no matter what O'Malley thought. Whether it be to Minnesota or California. One can debate whether he should of moved at all. One can debate Minneapolis or San Francisco was the better market.

                      It is my personal belief knowing what we know now is that in the end San Fran was not the smart move. Most of this is based off something than Stoneham could not have known.... the A's move to Oakland.

                      Whether San Fran would have been a much better move with the A's move is debatable (there was a drop in attendance before the A's moved out).

                      What I think is most concrete is that LA was/is a better a market than San Fran.
                      Correct me if I am wrong but didn't he need a unanimous vote of all the NL owners to make the move, and O'Malley voted no to the Minnesota move a year earlier?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by aqib View Post
                        Correct me if I am wrong but didn't he need a unanimous vote of all the NL owners to make the move, and O'Malley voted no to the Minnesota move a year earlier?
                        I don't have a copy of the national league constitution, but I was always under the theory that he needed 3/4 of the league... meaning he didn't need O'Malley.

                        Perhaps, I am wrong.... wouldn't be the first time.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by westsidegrounds View Post
                          He was such a bad businessman that he blundered his way into a free ballpark and nine straight years of above-league-average attendance.

                          "Poor Horace!"
                          Ok, no need for a smart ass response, I'm just giving my .02. He moved into an area, with little to no research on the weather. Yes, that might constitute you as a bad businessman. He rushed in making the move to San Francisco, and might have been more stable moving somewhere else. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, but from a business standpoint, some of the things he did are pretty bad. Taking architechture off the PG walls, televising every game, etc... I'm not saying poor horace, but I don't believe he was a Patsy.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by westsidegrounds View Post
                            With hindsight, sure, but at the time:

                            Boston Braves attendance 1952: 281,000
                            Milwaukee Braves att. 1953: 1,826,000

                            In 1957 the Milwaukee Braves drew over two million fans for the fourth year in a row, at a time when the NL average hovered around one million.

                            So, there's the rationale ...
                            Sounds like a goldrush to me.

                            Just because the Braves struck the mother lode (albeit briefly) Stoneham & O'Malley wanted a piece of the action.

                            The irony being of course that if they had played the long game, honoured tradition & stayed in NY their franchises would probably be worth more than they are today.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MattM View Post
                              Ok, no need for a smart ass response, I'm just giving my .02. He moved into an area, (1)with little to no research on the weather. Yes, that might constitute you as a bad businessman. He rushed in making the move to San Francisco, and might have been more stable moving (2)somewhere else. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, but from a business standpoint, some of the things he did are pretty bad. Taking architechture off the PG walls, televising every game, etc... I'm not saying poor horace, but I don't believe he was a Patsy.
                              (1) a. How do you know?
                              b. 7 straight years of above average attendance from the year they moved into Candlestick - doesn't seem like the weather had that much impact. just a hypothesis: maybe people who live in SF are used to SF weather?

                              (2) Such as where?

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