Wyman reflects on bringing Dodgers to LA

City councilwoman convinced O'Malley to move club from Brooklyn in '57

November 2nd, 2017
"It's so good for this city. I want to win, but even if we don't win, it has been great for this city," Rosalyn Wyman said of the World Series. (Mark Newman/MLB.com)

LOS ANGELES -- Rosalyn Wyman, the woman who brought Major League Baseball to California and therefore this 113th World Series to Dodger Stadium, soaked in the pregame atmosphere behind the Dodgers' dugout and recalled how it all happened.
Brooklyn Dodgers fans may want to turn away. The Astros won the Fall Classic with a 5-1 win over the Dodgers in Game 7 of the Fall Classic on Wednesday night.
"Sixty years ago, I signed the legislation," Wyman, 87, said. "I was a young 27-year-old city councilwoman, got elected at 22, and I said, 'A city never grows if we don't have major league sports and major league arts. So therefore, I went out and never thought I'd end up with the Dodgers. That was the best sports team in America at that time, in any sport.
"[Brooklyn Dodgers owner] Walter O'Malley was a real New Yorker, and I knew that. Nobody believes this today, but he would have stayed in New York if he had done that deal with Robert Moses, who blocked the sale of the land for the Brooklyn Dodgers to build a new stadium. But in my first letter I sent O'Malley, he wouldn't even see me.
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"I put a motion in anyway, and I said the city of Los Angeles should have a Major League Baseball team, football and the arts. New York drove me crazy with its [three] teams. And by the way, the Giants would not have come if not for the Dodgers. MLB was not happy with only the Dodgers coming, no team west of the Mississippi [River] with them. And they didn't want three games with them and then turn around and go back.
"So we had to work on San Francisco at the same time. They had a lousy ballclub. But [Giants owner Horace Stoneman] was losing money. O'Malley was not."
Wyman, born in Los Angeles to a mother who was a diehard Cubs fan, originally sent this missive to O'Malley in 1955, two years before the final Brooklyn season:
Dear Mr. O'Malley,
On numerous occasions the City Council has voiced its interest in obtaining a Major League Baseball club for the local populous. We have been authorized by the Los Angeles City Council to discuss the matter with you.
Very truly yours,
Rosalyn Wyman
"It took nine months, and I was pregnant," she said. "But I just kept plugging away and plugging away. We got a deal."
Los Angeles got the Dodgers. They won a quick World Series, in 1959 over the White Sox, and again in '63, when they swept the mighty Yankees in four.
Now here Wyman was, chatting with longtime fans near the Dodgers' dugout as the first World Series Game 7 in Dodger Stadium history was about to begin. Imagine that.
"Brooklyn fans still don't like me 60 years later," she said. "I can go to a dinner party today and somebody will say, 'She took the Brooklyn Dodgers.' They hate me. But you know, I said, 'What a dumb city. They not only lost one team, they lost two teams.' How dumb can you be?
"I'm 87 now. They honored me last week on the field. As the last words, they said, 'She just turned 87.' And they showed me in my Dodger cap that I wore when I was 27."
What did it mean to have the World Series here, ending this way, 60 years later?
"I'll tell you what it means," Wyman said. "This city, this is one of the things that this city is all for. The first year the Dodgers came, we were horrible. The second year, when Vin Scully said, 'And now we go to Chicago' [or the World Series], horns blew in the San Fernando Valley, in downtown LA, all over. It was the first team that really brought the sound together.
"And now it's kind of like Christmas. Everybody at Christmas is nice. Now everybody says, 'Go Blue' or 'Go Dodgers.' Everybody is into it. It's so good for this city. I want to win, but even if we don't win, it has been great for this city, with what's going on in America, to have this right now, in my city, and to be a part of it."