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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 42.
- Review Date: 2008-12-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Although Walter O'Malley has been dead for nearly 30 years, 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. Through research in O'Malley's letters, documents and myriad interviews with those close to him, D'Antonio (Tin Cup Dreams) presents a well-rounded portrayal of one of the most polarizing figures in baseball history: one New York writer referred to O'Malley as “one of the three worst human beings who ever lived,” while a Los Angeles journalist described O'Malley as a man who “did more for baseball than any commissioner.” D'Antonio paints the whole picture, starting with O'Malley's early days as a lawyer who originally began working with the club in a “troubleshooting” capacity, to taking total control of ownership in 1950. During O'Malley's tenure with the Dodgers, the team had some of its most famous moments in history—the debut of Jackie Robinson, the club's first World Series title in 1955 and, of course, the team's infamous move to Los Angeles. 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. (Mar.)
An overlooked legend
Michael D'Antonio's Forever Blue: The True Story of Walter O'Malley, Baseball's Most Controversial Owner, and the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles is a well-researched book that covers the life of the late owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and also recalls the pivotal events that led to his moving the team from Brooklyn to the West Coast in 1957. O'Malley is a key historical baseball figure, but heretofore not much has been known about him by the general reading public. A lawyer involved originally in the Dodgers' finances, he took controlling ownership of the franchise in 1950, fielding some great teams, including the 1955 squad that defeated the Yankees in the World Series. O'Malley was vilified by Brooklynites with the move to Los Angeles, but D'Antonio's account implies that O'Malley's apparently sincere attempts to keep the team in Flatbush were thwarted by competing commercial interests and stodgy city officials, which eventually forced him to seek greener pastures for "Dem Bums." D'Antonio writes consistently well, and his book fills an important gap in baseball history.