Former Dodgers executive Walsh dies
Was key figure in club's move to LA; later served as Angels' GM
Dick Walsh, former Los Angeles Dodgers Vice President, Commissioner of the North American Soccer League, General Manager of the California Angels and General Manager of numerous convention centers passed away on May 6 in Fullerton, Calif.
Walsh, born in South Bend, Ind., in 1925, and raised in Evanston, Ill. He came to Los Angeles in 1937. He was an All-City third baseman at Los Angeles High School. He enlisted in the Army in 1943, was commissioned at Fort Benning the following year, spent 32 months in the South Pacific, and was discharged from the service as a first lieutenant in 1948.
In 1948, Walsh entered the baseball business as an intern with the Fort Worth Cats (Texas League), a Minor League affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. There, he worked with all the team departments, learning ballpark operations and front-office management. He began his career in baseball as General Manager of the Danville (Ill.) Dodgers of the Three-I League. In 1951, Walsh joined the Brooklyn Dodgers as assistant farm director.
In 1957, Walsh returned to Los Angeles when Dodgers President Walter O'Malley named him President of the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels. As a representative of the Dodgers, Walsh played an integral role in the team's arrival in Los Angeles for the 1958 season.
In 1960, Walsh was named Dodgers Vice President, Stadium Operations, and formulated and implemented countless ideas in the development and construction of Dodger Stadium, the first privately built Major League ballpark since 1923. On a fast timetable, construction began on Labor Day, 1960, and Dodger Stadium opened to rave reviews on April 10, 1962, with every detail overseen by Walsh.
"My Dad had great confidence in Dick and they worked very closely together," said Peter O'Malley, Dodgers President from 1970-98. "Dick deserves a lot of credit for construction, maintenance, security and landscaping of Dodger Stadium. He was a team player and had the respect of everyone in the Dodger organization."
Walsh was in charge of stadium operations through the 1966 season.
In 1966, he was named Commissioner of the North American Soccer League.
In 1968, Gene Autry hired Walsh as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the California Angels, a position he held for three seasons (1969-71).
Walsh was named General Manager of the Los Angeles Convention Center in 1973. He served as G.M. for the next 23 years. During his tenure, he oversaw the $300 million Los Angeles Convention Center expansion, which helped revitalize the downtown city center. In 1997, Walsh and his wife, Roberta, moved to Honolulu where he served as G.M. of the Hawaii Convention Center for SMG. After three years in Hawaii, he was named as a senior general manager, overseeing five facilities in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska. After concluding his Alaskan adventure, and moving back to the Mainland, he accepted the general managership of the Ontario, Calif., Convention Center, retiring in 2005, one month before his 80th birthday.
Walsh met his wife, Roberta Dean Armitage, when they were in Tokyo after the war. She worked for the Natural Resources Section of General MacArthur's headquarters, while he was on occupation duty with the 1st Calvary Division. They married in 1948, and celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary in November 2010. In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children: Kathleen, Peggy and Richard, and have been blessed with two grandchildren and a great grandson.
Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Southern California Chapter, 2440 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 115, L.A., CA 90064 in honor of their daughter, Kathleen Field, or a donation to your favorite charity.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.