Forever Blue: The True Story of Walter O'Malley, Baseball's Most Controversial Owner, and the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles

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"If ever there was a figure who changed the game of baseball, it was Walter O'Malley. Criticized in New York and beloved in Los Angeles, O'Malley is one of the most controversial owners in the history of American sports. He remade the major leagues and altered the course of history in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles when he moved the Dodgers to California. But while many New York critics attacked him, O'Malley looked to the future, declining to argue his case. As a result, fans across the nation have been unable to stop arguing about him - until

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Overview

"If ever there was a figure who changed the game of baseball, it was Walter O'Malley. Criticized in New York and beloved in Los Angeles, O'Malley is one of the most controversial owners in the history of American sports. He remade the major leagues and altered the course of history in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles when he moved the Dodgers to California. But while many New York critics attacked him, O'Malley looked to the future, declining to argue his case. As a result, fans across the nation have been unable to stop arguing about him - until now." "Using never-before-seen documents and candid interviews with O'Malley's players, associates, and relatives, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael D'Antonio finally reveals this complex sportsman and industry pioneer. Born into Tammany Hall connections, O'Malley used political contacts to grow wealthy during the Great Depression, and then maneuvered to take control of the formerly downtrodden Dodgers. After his defeat in a war of wills with the famed power broker Robert Moses, O'Malley uprooted the borough's team and transplanted them to Los Angeles. Once in Los Angeles, O'Malley overcame opponents of his stadium and helped define the city. Other owners came to regard him as their guide - almost an unofficial commissioner - and he worked behind the scenes to usher in the age of the players' union and free agency." Filled with new revelations about O'Malley's battle with Moses, his pioneering business strategies, and his relationship with Jackie Robinson, Forever Blue is a uniquely intimate portrait of a man who changed America's pastime forever. His fascinating story is fundamental to the history of sports, business, and the AmericanWest.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Although Walter O'Malley has been dead for nearly 30 years, D'Antonio's latest work is perhaps the most meticulously detailed and comprehensive account to date of the former owner of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. Through research in O'Malley's letters, documents and myriad interviews with those close to him, D'Antonio (Tin Cup Dreams) presents a well-rounded portrayal of one of the most polarizing figures in baseball history: one New York writer referred to O'Malley as "one of the three worst human beings who ever lived," while a Los Angeles journalist described O'Malley as a man who "did more for baseball than any commissioner." D'Antonio paints the whole picture, starting with O'Malley's early days as a lawyer who originally began working with the club in a "troubleshooting" capacity, to taking total control of ownership in 1950. During O'Malley's tenure with the Dodgers, the team had some of its most famous moments in history-the debut of Jackie Robinson, the club's first World Series title in 1955 and, of course, the team's infamous move to Los Angeles. D'Antonio explores everything-O'Malley's business dealings, his personal relationships with Robinson and Branch Rickey, the on-the-field fortunes of the Dodgers. With D'Antonio's access to O'Malley's most personal documents, even baseball historians will find something to learn. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize winner D'Antonio's (Tin Cup Dreams) lively, fascinating account of the Brooklyn Dodgers and owner Walter O'Malley looks at, among other things, the painful economic and political choices that led to the team leaving Brooklyn for Los Angeles. The perfunctory reading by two-time Audie Award finalist Phil Gigante is compounded by his mispronunciations of such well-known baseballers' names as Bavasi, Lavagetto, Reiser, and Veeck. Nevertheless, the content is strong enough to recommend this title to baseball fans as well as to those interested in sports history and the histories of New York City and Los Angeles. [The Riverhead hc was recommended "for all public libraries, especially those near any past or present Dodgers dugouts," LJ 2/15/09.—Ed.]—Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594488566
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/19/2009
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael D’Antonio is the author of many acclaimed books including Atomic Harvest, Tin Cup Dreams, Mosquito, The State Boys Rebellion and Hershey. His work has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Discover and other publications. Among his many awards is the Pulitzer Prize, which he shared with a team of reporters from Newsday.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 4, 2010

    Should have resonance for all Noo Yawkas...

    "Forever Blue" certainly resonated for me, but then I spent many a summer afternoon in the President's box at Ebbets field, since his family and mine were very friendly and lived only a couple of blocks apart in Amityville. To further complicate any objectivity I might otherwise have had, I ended up going to high school at Brooklyn Prep (also Gil Hodges' alma mater), a mere three blocks away from Ebbets Field. So that's my full disclosure, and that said, I liked this book objectively: Walter O'Malley has for fifty-plus years been almost universally -- but, of course, especially in Brooklyn -- impugned as the monster who robbed Brooklyn of its pride and joy. I believe it's about time an alternative theory of the universe was postulated, and d'Antonio does a fine job of that in "Forever Blue."

    I recommend this book to any sports fan, particularly if you're from NYC, whose mind is open to the possibility that there could conceivably be more than one side to every story. This is the other side of the Dodgers' departure.

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  • Posted September 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Forever Blue- one side of the story, only

    D'Antonio's research on the life of Walter O'Malley is interesting and provocative yet one-sided toward the family. He comes up short in a pair of accounts: that Robert Moses is the real villain in the Dodgers (and the Giants) leaving New York City: and that Southern California was ignorant toward baseball until O'Malley and Vince Scully arrived from Brooklyn.

    What he also fails to note, and no New York journalist will ever admit, that New York City baseball is extremely overrated. New York was ahead of the field regarding the nation's media hub and it's successes are always overstated (even more so in its coverage of the NBA and the praised gushed on the Knicks, whose two titles in the early 70s are treated like the only 'dynasty' ever in the sport). The NY baseball era from 1947 to 1958 is no better than similar spans in Chicago, St. Louis, Oakland and Baltimore and none of those teams relocated.

    His point from O'Malley that major league baseball is a business is valid but it still remains true that O'Malley was first and foremost, greedy. Robert Moses didn't ruin Brooklyn, Brooklyn ruined Brooklyn with a big boost from the most corrupt government in the U.S., led by Walter O'Malley's father himself.

    Baseball had thrived in Southern California prior to the Dodgers, an area that developed 10 times as many major leaguers than New York. Vin Scully didn't educate the fans about baseball, he educated them about the Dodgers. D'Antonio fails to note the prior success of the Rams and Lakers, also major league teams, who arrived prior to O'Malley in L.A.

    The book is a different perspective but no matter what happened in LA, O'Malley is still the person who moved the Dodgers from their rabid fan base.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2009

    Thorough history of the Brooklyn Dodgers

    This is a great read for fans of the Dodgers and/or baseball in general. Thorough and detailed history of The O'Malley clan and baseball from the teams inception through the move west. Great info culled from surviving players/execs/family members associated with "The Bums." Highly recommended.

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    Posted July 15, 2010

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    Posted September 23, 2010

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