California Baseball

Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.

During the 1957 season, New York had three MLB baseball teams. Brooklyn Dodgers’ owner Walter O’Malley and New York Giants’ owner Horace Stoneham had watched the Boston Braves move to Milwaukee, the St. Louis Browns move to Baltimore, and the Philadelphia Athletics move to Kansas City within the past 4 seasons. Both New York teams watched as their attendance dropped for various reasons, and the owners got fed up.

As O’Malley attempted to find a new stadium site in Brooklyn, he found that it was increasingly difficult to find a suitable location. During the 1956 World Series, a representative from Los Angeles was in attendance to attempt to convince another team to move. O’Malley called the representative to a meeting, and was promised free land in Los Angeles to build a stadium.

Stoneham was already considering moving the Giants to Minneapolis when San Francisco mayor George Christopher met with him and O’Malley. The two men convinced Stoneham to also move to California.

New York instantly hated the moves. The lack of a National League franchise (both now-Californian teams were NL teams) later led to the Mets. The West Coast instantly loved their new teams, leading to incredible attendance numbers for both teams.

Teams again started jumping afterwards, with the Braves moving away from their new town to Atlanta, and the Athletics jumping from their new city to the West Coast, becoming the Oakland Athletics. The expansion team Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee to take the Brave’s place. Washington D.C. also had three teams jump in and out, with the original Senators moving to Minneapolis to become the Twins, and an expansion version of the Senators moving to Arlington, Texas to become the Rangers. The next relocation of a team didn’t occur until 2005, when the Expos moved from Montreal to Washington D.C. to become the Nationals.

Many current teams have at least threatened relocation. The one notable one is the Oakland Athletics, possibly looking to move for a third time. Rumored cities they’re looking at are San Jose, California and Portland, Oregon. The Tampa Bay Rays are also looking at potentially moving. Frustrated with their current stadium situation - Tropicana Field is outdated - the team is mainly considering moving to Montreal.

2 Comments California Baseball

  1. Picture of Grandpa AGrandpa ADecember 02, 2014

    I was just beginning to grasp baseball when all the changes began to take place.  In recent discussions with others, we couldn’t remember the exact details of which teams moved when.  Thanks for the thorough compiling (or reporting) of the sequence of events.  Baseball is still my favorite sport.

  2. Picture of HarrisonHarrisonDecember 03, 2014

    Grandpa, you’re welcome. It was a fun report to write.

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