Wow, holding on to that hate for 66 years ever since the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles. Bitter much? The Brooklyn Dodgers were the hometown team, yes, but they always were going to live in the shadow of the vaunted Yankees and their insurmountable lead in championships. O’Malley could see that even with competitive and winning teams (won league 6 times from 1947-57, WS 1-5, all losses against NYY and 1 win vs NYY), the Dodgers went from high of 23,000 Avg attendance in 1947 to dwindling down to 13.6 (’52) NL pennant and WS, 14.9 (’53) NL pennant & WS, 13.2 (’54), 13.4 (’55) NL Pennant & WS win, 15.7 (’56) NL pennant and WS loss , 13.4 (’57) last year. Ebbet’s Field capacity was about 32,000 from 1949-1957, so the ballpark always less than half full. The Brooklyn area was in a long decline, attendance by loyal fans declined despite winning teams, resident fans who moved out of the area wanted to drive to the park but there was no parking space available, and Ebbet’s was falling into disrepair because of aging infrastructure . Brooklyn, for many reasons, wasn’t able to support the Dodgers well enough for the Dodgers to stay.
O’Malley had a new privately funded stadium planned in 1952 of 52,000 with a dome (pretty forward thinking) but ran into difficulties acquiring land and political opposition by Robert Moses, NYC planning commissioner who wanted O’Malley to move to a City owned Queens stadium (future Shea Stadium). O’Malley refused saying “we’re the Brooklyn Dodgers, not the Queens Dodgers” plus not wanting to be beholden to NYC politics. In the end, after many many public squabbles, Moses and O’Malley would / could not agree on a suitable stadium solution and O’Malley took the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1957 after the season ended.
Could O’Malley have had a new stadium in Queens? Maybe but not to his liking or terms of him. Could he have built his own new Stadium? No, Moses prevented that almost every step of the way. Were Brooklyn fans heartbroken, YES! But as a business decision, O’Malley practically had NO CHOICE. He would have had to somehow refurbish Ebbet’s without being able to add parking needed to attract commuter fans, he would have no ability to expand the park, and frankly despite rabid and loyal fans, the home attendance support just wasn’t there. The NY Giants baseball team faced the exact same problems and stadium opposition and, with O’Malley’s pressing, also left New York for San Francisco.
You can blame O’Malley all you want, it’s your right, feelings, and even justifiable. But there was no practical or business way O’Malley was going to stay in business in Brooklyn, too many changes had happened locally, and NYC would not ALLOW him to build what he wanted, and instead tried to force him into the Queens stadium proposal . NYC politics had everything to do with essentially driving O’Malley out of Brooklyn, IMO.
Ebbet’s Field was touted to last 200 years, hyperbole of course. It only lasted 47 years before being torn down in 1960 for apartments which still stands. Citi Field has some architectural features that honor Ebbet’s.
Hate the Dodgers and O’Malley for that all you want if you want to remain bitter for the rest of your years. The Dodgers have moved on, the world had moved on, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have been more successful, both on the field and in Attendance.
Brooklyn, from 1883-1957 over 75 years won 12 NL pennants and were 1-9 in the World Series (2 pennants did not play at WS). The Los Angeles Dodgers from 1957-2022, 67 years have won 12 more NL Pennants, WS 6-6, been in the postseason 27 times, including last 10 years straight against arguably more numerous good teams.