Book review: Forever Blue, the True Story of Walter O’Malley

Forever Blue

The True Story of Walter O’Malley,
Baseball’s Most Controversial Owner
 
by Michael D’Antonio
 
 
A Baseball Book Review
Monte Cely
(512) 310-9777
                                               
            Demonized by Brooklynites and those that dream of “the good old days”, and yet praised by many as one of baseball’s visionary leaders, Dodgers magnate Walter O’Malley certainly qualifies as one of baseball’s most controversial owners. In this book, author Michael D’Antonio paints a balanced, even predominately positive, picture of the recently elected Hall of Famer.
 
            O’Malley’s early life (pre-Dodgers) is recounted as introduction. His father was a Tammany Hall official. Walter’s years at a military high school, at Penn, and at law school all help shape his character and interests. He is successful at business law and this leads him to the Dodgers, where he is assigned to the front office by a Dodger creditor to “… go over there and do a little troubleshooting …” The rest is history, although not necessarily the history written by New York sportswriters of that era.
 
            The author uses family archives to reconstruct O’Malley’s thoughts and intentions in dealing with the Dodger heirs, with Branch Rickey, on keeping the Dodgers in Brooklyn, and on the opportunities and problems of leaving for Los Angeles. O’Malley is shown dealing with politics and public interests in building a stadium in Brooklyn (he failed) and then again in Los Angeles (where he succeeded). 
 
            A SABR member interested in new insights into “what really happened” should enjoy this book.
 
Here are the key statistics:
 
Book: Forever Blue: The True Story of Walter O’Malley, Baseball’s Most Controversial Owner, and the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles
Author:  Michael D’Antonio
Author’s Credentials: D’Antonio is a Pulitzer Prize winner for reporting in Newsday. He has authored several books on topics outside of sports and his work has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, and the LA Times Magazine.
Published: 2009, Riverhead Books (Penquin); ISBN: 978-1-59448-856-6
Length: 343 pages.
Price: Retail list – $35.00;    Online – from $2.50 (used) + shipping.

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