A Historic Gathering At Historic Dodgertown


Terry O’Malley Seidler and Peter O’Malley pose in front of an image of their father, Walter O’Malley, and Bud Holman during the ceremony recognizing the new Dodgertown ballpark as Holman Stadium in 1953. Photo by Greg Hills

Last November, three generations of O’Malleys gathered at Historic Dodgertown for their first-ever family reunion of such magnitude. Finding a time when the schedules of all 46 people jibed and getting everyone together in the same place at the same time was no simple feat; but if anyone could make it happen, it was the O’Malleys. After all, their family has a pretty impressive track record when it comes to uniting people.

When Peter O’Malley and his older sister Theresa “Terry” O’Malley Seidler were growing up in Brooklyn in the ‘40s, they often accompanied their grandparents or their parents to Ebbets Field to watch the Dodgers play. Their father, Walter, a New York attorney, was a die-hard fan. Their mother, Kay, never forgot to bring along her scorebook. The O’Malleys were already a “baseball family.”

By 1948, Walter was vice president and owner-partner of the Dodgers. That year the team leased the abandoned United States Naval Air Station from Vero Beach to use as a spring training headquarters. From the beginningThe, it was intended as a site where all players, regardless of race, would train, play and live together, sharing everything from showers, to clubhouse, to rooms in the old barracks. Fully integrated, it was the first such training facility in the South. And the “firsts” continued: When the first game took place there on March 31, 1948, Jackie Robinson hit a home run for the Dodgers in the first inning.

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