On Jan. 6, 1997, Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley stunned the baseball world when he announced plans to sell the franchise.
During a press conference at Dodger Stadium, O’Malley cited baseball’s changing dynamics as the primary factor in his decision to put the Dodgers up for sale. The Dodgers were the last team wholly owned by a single family, with the other 25 at the time controlled by partnerships or corporations.
The Dodgers had been linked to the O’Malley family since 1947 when Peter’s father, Walter, became a part-owner. Three years later Walter took majority control from Branch Rickey to own 66.2% of the team.
In 1975, Walter secured full ownership of the Dodgers by purchasing the final 33.8%. Peter became team owner after his father’s death in 1979 and guided the team to World Series titles in 1981 and 1988.
Five months after he revealed his intention to sell the Dodgers, O’Malley entered into serious negotiations with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. A record-breaking deal valued at $311 million was reached and eventually approved by MLB team owners in March 1998.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. would control the Dodgers for the next six seasons before selling the team to Frank McCourt in 2004. When McCourt put the team up for sale eight years later, O’Malley considered the possibility of buying the franchise again.
That of course never transpired as Guggenheim Baseball Management, led by controlling partner Mark Walter, president and CEO Stan Kasten, and part-owner Magic Johnson, purchased the Dodgers for $2 billion.
Since selling the Dodgers more than two decades ago, O’Malley helped save historic Dodgertown in March 2016 when it was on the verge of being shuttered a second time.
O’Malley congratulated Dodgers on winning 2020 World Series
After the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 World Series, O’Malley congratulated the organization by placing a message in a commemorative issue of the L.A. Times.
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