This Day In Dodgers History: Brooklyn Becomes First MLB Team To Purchase Airplane

This day in Los Angeles Dodgers history saw the team become the first in MLB history to purchase their own aircraft for player travel on Jan. 4, 1957.

The Dodgers, who were in Brooklyn at the time, purchased a Convair 440 two-engine airplane for more than $700,000, which had room for 44 passengers.

Before the Dodgers bought their new team plane, they primarily used trains for transportation between cities. They also owned a 20-seat DC-3 given to them by Bud Holman, who was a director for the team in Brooklyn and L.A.

The Dodgers owned the DC-3 from 1949-1957 but it was primarily used for transporting team executives from Vero Beach, Fla. — their Spring Training complex at the time — to New York until they decided to experiment to see if flying was a viable form of transportation for an MLB club.

Harry Holman, the Dodgers’ former pilot and son of Bud Holman, said O’Malley tasked him with determining if the team should switch to airplanes, he told the Museum of Flying:

“In 1954, Dodger executives came to me and said pick one of these (minor league) ballclubs and go see if you can fly one for a season. See if the airplane is dependable enough, if we can overcome the weather problems and all the obstacles to see if we can fly a ballclub all year. So, we picked out the St. Paul (MN.) ballclub in the American Association. I flew them all that summer. We made all the games. We didn’t have any problems — no breakdowns, no mechanicals and no weather issues.

From there, the O’Malley decided it was time to upgrade and purchased the Convair 440 new from the factory and made Holman the first team pilot.

Today, most pro-sports teams, including the Dodgers, charter planes from airline companies. Only a select few, such as the Texas Rangers and NFL’s New England Patriots own a team plane.

Holman won DC-3 for Dodgers via gambling

Legend has it that Bud Holman won the plane from Eastern Airlines in a game of craps as the airline company was upgrading their fleet.

O’Malley told Holman he was looking to purchase a plane and Holman told him to wait because he thinks he could win one before gifting him the airliner a few days later.

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!