Roz Wyman, Who Helped Bring the Dodgers to Los Angeles, Dies at 92

Roz Wyman, who helped lead Los Angeles’s successful campaign to persuade Walter O’Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, to move west after the 1957 season, died on Wednesday at her home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. She was 92.

Her son Robert Wyman confirmed the death.

Major League Baseball had 16 teams until 1958, none farther west than Kansas City, Mo., although California had minor league teams, most prominently in the Pacific Coast League. When Ms. Wyman, at 22, ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council in 1953, she vowed to import a major league team. She focused on the Dodgers and, to a lesser extent, the New York Giants.

“The time appears to be ripe,” she said in 1955, as it became apparent that the Dodgers and Giants might be in play. “Certainly if the people of New York must act to keep the clubs there, we can act to bring them here.”

In Mr. O’Malley, Ms. Wyman and her allies, including Norris Poulson, the city’s mayor, and Kenneth Hahn, a county supervisor, had a cagey target. He pledged publicly to stay in Brooklyn and engaged in long-drawn-out talks with New York City officials about building a new ballpark. In 1955, he rebuffed Ms. Wyman’s request for a meeting; she responded that she would talk to the Giants instead.

But when it appeared that Mr. O’Malley would not get what he wanted in Brooklyn, Los Angeles became a more viable option. In October 1957, the City Council prepared to vote on the terms that would bring the Dodgers to Los Angeles and let Mr. O’Malley build a stadium in Chavez Ravine, an area once populated by residents, mostly Latino, who had been evicted to make room for a public-housing project. (That plan was canceled in a referendum in 1952. )

Ms. Wyman and Mayor Poulson worked diligently to secure the votes needed to approve the plan —- some members of the Council thought the deal was a giveaway to the Dodgers — but they wanted Mr. O’Malley’s guarantee, before the Council voted, that he would accept the terms. They called him, and Mayor Poulson placed the phone in Ms. Wyman’s hands.

“I am going to the floor,” she recalled telling Mr. O’Malley in an interview for Michael D’Antonio’s “Forever Blue” (2009), a biography of Mr. O’Malley. “I would like to say you are coming.” But Mr. O’Malley did not give her a straight answer.

He told her that “if I could get my deal in New York, I’d rather stay in New York,” but he then quickly reversed himself, saying, “I think everything is right for me there in L.A.”

She decided not to tell the Council about Mr. O’Malley’s indecision. And, she said, when no one asked if Mr. O’Malley had made a commitment to moving, the Council voted 10 to 4 to approve the deal.

To celebrate the moment, she posed for pictures with Mayor Poulson. He held a bat, and she placed a cap on his head that said, “L.A. Bums,” a nod to the Brooklyn Dodgers’ nickname, “Dem Bums.”

Mr. O’Malley quickly accepted the terms — and the deal passed by the Council survived a referendum held in June 1958, two months into the Dodgers’ inaugural season in Los Angeles. At the very least, Mr. O’Malley would have had to renegotiate the deal if voters had rejected the referendum.

Peter O’Malley, Walter’s son, said that his father came to trust Ms. Wyman. He told The Los Angeles Times in 2016 that while other elected officials claimed credit for bringing the Dodgers to Los Angeles, “Roz did it” and “deserves all the credit.”

Before the Dodgers’ first game in Los Angeles — against the Giants, who, following the Dodgers’ lead, had moved to San Francisco — Ms Wyman rode in a ticker-tape parade that ferried players from City Hall through downtown streets and to the team’s temporary home at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Ms. Wyman, who had given birth to her daughter, Betty, a few days before, sat in an open convertible with the Dodger pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

“We thought it was the biggest thing that had ever come to Los Angeles, with the ticker tape,” she told the radio station KPCC in 2008. “I mean, with the confetti and all this stuff coming down.”

Rosalind Naomi Wiener was born on Oct. 4, 1930, in Los Angeles. Her parents, Oscar and Sarah (Selten) Wiener, owned a drugstore. Her mother was also a pharmacist.

Baseball and politics were part of her life from an early age. Her mother, who grew up in Chicago, was a Cubs fan; she was also a precinct captain in Los Angeles who worked to re-elect President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.

Ms. Wyman’s political career began when she was an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, after she confronted Helen Gahagan Douglas, the actress turned congresswoman from California, over her lateness to two events that she had attended. Ms. Wyman became Ms. Douglas’s driver during her unsuccessful Senate campaign against Richard M. Nixon in 1950.

In 1952 she graduated from U.S.C. with a bachelor’s degree in public administration. The next year, she began her campaign for City Council.

“When I decided to run, I was really young and my father was a typical dad,” she told the public television station KCET in 2019. “And he said: ‘You shouldn’t do that. That’s a terrible business.’ He didn’t want me to do it one bit. And my mother said, ‘Go get ’em.’”

She became the youngest person ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council, and only the second woman.

Ms. Wyman served for 12 years. She was defeated in 1965, but by then she had become an increasingly important activist in the state and national Democratic Party.

As a member of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, she convinced Robert F. Kennedy that his brother John should give his speech accepting the 1960 presidential nomination outdoors at the coliseum, which ensured a much larger audience than the smaller Los Angeles Sports Arena, where the rest of the Democratic National Convention was held. The commission inducted her into its court of honor at the coliseum last year.

She and her husband, Eugene Wyman, a lawyer who was one of California’s top Democratic Party fund-raisers, hosted political gatherings at their home in Bel Air. A decade after Mr. Wyman’s death in 1973, she was in charge of the planning committee for the 1984 Democratic convention in San Francisco. She began a friendship there with Dianne Feinstein, then the mayor of San Francisco; she would later play a prominent role in Ms. Feinstein’s campaigns for the United States Senate.

Ms. Wyman was also a confidante of another California Democrat: Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House.

She worked outside politics as well, including as an executive at Columbia Pictures for two years in the late 1960s and chief executive of the Producers Guild of America from 1977 to 1981.

She was also the chairwoman of National Congressional Campaign Dinners in 1973 and 1976 and served on the executive committee of the Jimmy Carter-Walter Mondale campaign committee in 1976.

She was once asked what her hobby was.

“The party,” she said.

In addition to her son Robert, Ms. Wyman is survived by her daughter, Betty Wyman; another son, Brad; and three grandchildren.

Ms. Wyman’s achievement in helping to bring the Dodgers to Los Angeles still resonates.

“What this lady did for baseball in this city,” Tommy Lasorda, the team’s longtime manager, told The Los Angeles Times in 2000, “they should erect a monument to her.”

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