Peter O'Malley

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Peter O'Malley
Peter O'Malley at Dodger Stadum.jpg
Peter O'Malley at Dodger Stadium in 2015
Born (1937-12-12) December 12, 1937 (age 79)
United States Brooklyn, New York
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Wharton School of Business (1960) [1][2]
Occupation Former President and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers
Parent(s) Walter Francis O'Malley
Katherine Elizabeth Hanson (1907–1979)

Peter O'Malley (born December 12, 1937 in Brooklyn, New York)[3] was the owner (1979–98) and president (1970–98) of the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball.

Life and sports[edit]

He was born at Carson C. Peck Memorial Hospital on December 12, 1937 to long-time Dodger owner Walter Francis O'Malley (1903–79) and Katherine Elizabeth "Kay" Hanson (1907–79). Peter has a sister, Theresa "Terry" O'Malley Seidler (born 1933), who was co-owner of the team.[3]

He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was president of his fraternity Phi Gamma Delta, and from the Wharton School of Business in 1960. In 1962, Peter was named the director of Dodgertown, the team's spring training headquarters located in Vero Beach, Florida. In 1965, he became president and general manager of the minor league Spokane Indians of the Pacific Coast League, where many future Dodger stars and coaches were on the roster.

In 1967 he moved to the major league club as vice president of stadium operations and in 1969, as executive vice president.[4] Peter took over the presidency of the Dodgers from his father on March 17, 1970. His father, Walter, who had been Dodger Chairman of the Board since that date, passed on August 9, 1979. On March 19, 1998, Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation acquired the team for what was alternately reported as $311 million or $350 million. This was the highest price ever paid for a US sports franchise at the time.[5]

Peter O'Malley relinquished the club presidency to become Dodger chairman of the board;[6] he resigned that post at the end of the 1998 baseball season. Murdoch appointed NewsCorp subsidiary's Fox Television executives to oversee the Dodgers, with mixed results. The sale was reported as an estate and tax planning move for the O'Malley family, as Terry had ten children and Peter three. None had immediately emerged as a candidate to succeed Peter, and he acknowledged that the new economics of the game had dictated that the days of family baseball ownership, without support of a separate corporation, were largely over. NewsCorp sold the Dodgers in 2004 for $430 million to Frank McCourt, a Boston developer.

In 1996, after earlier consideration and partly owing to a phone call from Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan on August 22, 1995 at 3:25 p.m.,[7] Peter O'Malley met with NFL officials to discuss the possible construction of a football-only stadium on Dodger-owned property surrounding Dodger Stadium. His plan offered solutions to a number of problems faced by the NFL in locating a team in Los Angeles, following the departure of both the Rams and the Raiders. First, it provided for scarce, centrally-located land. Second, the proposal came attached to highly regarded, established sports franchise management via the O'Malley involvement. Third, like Dodger Stadium, the new facility would be privately financed, and thus not entangled in lengthy municipal funding debates. Fourth, the plan called for alignment with an expansion team, meaning that no existing franchise would have to be moved.

Published reports indicated that O'Malley spent upwards of $1 million on an initial round of architectural renderings, land use studies and environmental impact research, and quickly garnered substantial support among NFL owners who would have to vote their approval. As meetings continued over the next year, O'Malley received a call from Mayor Riordan, asking him to cease pursuit of the NFL franchise. The city had decided that the team should play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, already more than 70 years old, and absent any of the considerable amenities now standard in NFL stadiums. O'Malley reluctantly shelved his work and withdrew, noting that while he believed strongly in the viability of his proposal, "you can't fight City Hall."

Hallmarks of Peter O'Malley's baseball career were his deep involvement in the U.S. Little League program as longtime chairman of the Little League Foundation,[8] his contribution to baseball's introduction as an Olympic sport, and his years of promotion of baseball globally, particularly in Latin America, Japan, and China, where a donation he made provided for construction of the country's first baseball stadium in 1986. Named Dodger Stadium, it is in the coastal city of Tianjin. He also funded the building of the O'Malley baseball fields in Managua, Nicaragua (1992),[9] Corkagh Park in Clondalkin, West Dublin, Ireland (1998), considered the main home of Irish baseball. He believed that these initiatives would bolster baseball's popularity around the world, while also benefiting both the Dodgers and the future of American baseball in general.

He has been widely credited with running the Dodgers as a professional, highly respected and emulated organization, operated with consistent methods and values, encompassed by a style known as "The Dodger Way." Among his unique business practices were treating his staff to ice cream at 2 p.m. every day that the Dodgers were in first place, freshly baked cookies on sell-out games, and overseas trips in the off-season after particularly successful years.[5]

In 1997, Fortune magazine named the Dodgers as the only sports franchise selected as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America." It was the third time the Dodgers had received the recognition, after being named in books of that title in 1984 and 1993.[10]

On November 2, 2011, a day after the announcement that Frank McCourt would be selling the Dodgers, O'Malley expressed his interest in repurchasing his former team.[11] He withdrew his bid on February 21, 2012.[12]

Honours[edit]

  • ribbon bar Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon (2015)
  • Named an “Honorary Citizen of Tianjin of the People’s Republic of China” by the People’s Government of Tianjin (1991)
  • Appointed member, Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee Board of Directors (1979)[13]
  • Inducted into the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame, New York (2013)[14]
  • Medallion of Merit from the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Los Angeles (2013)[15]

References[edit]

Preceded by
Walter O'Malley
President of the Los Angeles Dodgers
1970–1998
Succeeded by
Bob Graziano
Preceded by
Walter O'Malley
Chairman of the Los Angeles Dodgers
1980–1998
Succeeded by
Robert Daly