Continuing our countdown of the 20 greatest Dodgers of all time, as selected by our readers.
No. 15: Walter O'Malley (304 first-place votes, 12,558 points)
O'Malley received the fifth most first-place votes but finished 15th because he was left off many ballots entirely.
Those who did vote for him mainly had the same reason: Moving the team to L.A.
He made the decision to move the Dodgers from Brooklyn to L.A. in time for the 1958 season. He did not have a stadium ready for the Dodgers, so he rented the Coliseum for $200,000 a year for 1958 and 1959, plus 10% of the ticket revenue. They moved to Dodger Stadium in 1962, and the rest, as they say, is history.
O'Malley is not without his detractors, however, including many people in Brooklyn who still curse his name for moving the Dodgers away and some people in L.A. who feel they (or their parents or grandparents) were unfairly forced from their homes to make way for Dodger Stadium.
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. In 1999, The Sporting News named O’Malley the 11th Most Powerful Person in sports in the last century, while ABC Sports ranked O’Malley in its Top 10 Most Influential People “off the field” in sports history.
O'Malley died of congestive heart failure on Aug. 9, 1979.
To say O'Malley was a controversial figure is understating the case. There is far too much, good and bad, that happened in O'Malley's life than can be captured in a short blog post. You can read a detailed biography of his life at walteromalley.com.