There are few issues more touchy to a Brooklynite than the departure of the Dodgers. I was remnded of this after talking to Andrew Paul Mele, a 70-year old Staten Island resident who grew up in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Mele and I had a chat in light of the fact that a new book about the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles is being launched this weekend at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Forever Blue by Michael D’Antonio takes a very favorable view of Walter O'Malley, the Dodgers president who decided to move the team to L.A. in 1957, two years after "Dem Bums" finally won the World Series.
"It was totally greed. I’m not blaming him for being a businessman, but even though a ball club is privately owned, it has a responsibility to the community,” says Mele, author of The Brooklyn Dodgers Reader and Boys of Brooklyn.
Mele had some interesting reminiscences on the connection between the team and Brooklyn. "The players lived in the community. They weren’t making millions of dollars. They went to the same stores as us, the same doctors. You could get on the subway and be sitting next to Jackie Robinson on his way to work,” Mele recalled.
D'Antonio, Peter O'Malley (Walter's son) and sport writer Richard Sandomir will discuss the book at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St., 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, March 21.
Book Defending O’Malley To Be Launched at Brooklyn Historical Society [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]
The Verdict on Walter O'Malley [Los Angeles Times]
Sympathy for THIS Devil? [Brooklyn Paper]
Former Dodgers' boss O'Malley gets sympathetic look in new bio [Canadian Press]