Walter O'Malley at Dodger Stadium
If ever there was a figure who changed the game of baseball it was Walter O’Malley. Criticized by fans in Brooklyn and beloved in California, O’Malley became one of the most controversial owners in the history of American sports when he transplanted the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958
Whether you loved him or disagreed with him, O’Malley’s fascinating story is fundamental to the history of modern sports. And yet it has never been fully explored.
That all changed in 2007 when the O’Malley family opened an archive of 30,000 documents, photographs, and artifacts to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael D’Antonio.
Now the critically acclaimed biographer uses his unprecedented access, thorough independent research and hundreds of hours of new interviews with family, friends, players and associates—many talking about O’Malley for the first time—to fully reveal this complex sportsman and industry pioneer in FOREVER BLUE: The True Story of Walter O’Malley, Baseball’s Most Controversial Owner, and the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles (Riverhead Books; March 19, 2009).
The author, Michael D’Antonio, has been a journalist and nonfiction author for thirty years. He has worked as a reporter and features writer in New England, Washington, D.C., and New York City, covering the U.S. Congress, presidential campaigns and national political conventions, and has reported from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Brazil and the Philippines. During his tenure at Newsday on Long Island, he received the Pulitzer Prize, which he shared with a team of reporters there, and won several other awards, including the Alicia Patterson Fellowship.
D’Antonio has published more than a dozen books including Atomic Harvest, Tin Cup Dreams, Mosquito, The State Boys Rebellion, and Hershey; is the author of hundreds of magazine articles, and has also written and sold original stories for film, including two—Deacons for Defense and Crown Heights—that were produced and aired by Showtime.
The O’Malley archive gave D’Antonio a rare opportunity to get close to a larger-than-life historical figure and tell his story on a human scale.
The portrait of O’Malley that emerges in the book’s pages reveals a savvy man and visionary, with a talent for both politics and business.
The son of a Tammany Hall politician, he used hard work and a few connections to become successful during the Great Depression.
When the Dodgers came up for sale in 1944 he became part owner and began, soon after, trying to solve the team’s stadium troubles.
O’Malley made the difficult decision to move the team after his 10-year efforts to remain in Brooklyn and privately build a new stadium for the Dodgers had been defeated in a grand test of wills with Robert Moses.
Once transplanted to Los Angeles, he overcame opposition to his new stadium and won the city’s heart. Other owners came to regard him as their guide – an almost unofficial commissioner – and he worked with players and owners alike to usher in the age of modern baseball.
One of the first owners to consider sports management a serious profession, he helped to make baseball the economic juggernaut it is today.
Besides providing a classic biography of O’Malley, FOREVER BLUE clarifies many key events in the history of the Dodger franchise.
The book shows how the legendary baseball executive Branch Rickey used Joseph Kennedy (the future president’s father) and others to force O’Malley to pay a premium for the Dodgers.
D’Antonio also reveals how Robert Moses influenced fans and city officials who expected he would try to keep the team in New York.
Filled with inside information on personalities and events, FOREVER BLUE finally tells the full story of a baseball dynasty that came to dominate the game under the command of a leader who was competitive and ambitious but also innovative and idealistic.
“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. A well-rounded portrayal of one of the most polarizing figures in baseball history ... 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." – Publisher's Weekly, December 12, 2008
“To comprehend baseball's grip on America, you've got to understand the dramatic tale of Walter O'Malley and the Dodgers. With meticulous reporting and elegant prose, D'Antonio brushes away the dust and brings O'Malley's story to life like never before. This is the definitive book on one of baseball's most fascinating and controversial figures.” – Jonathan Eig, author of Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season and Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
“Meticulously researched and artfully written, Forever Blue isn't merely a biography of Walter O'Malley, but a thoughtful and riveting piece of social history, told through the prism of perhaps the most controversial owner in the annals of American sport.” – Wayne Coffey, author of The New York Times bestseller, The Boys of Winter
Publication date is March 19 and you can order the book from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble or from any major bookstore. List price is $25.95.