While the team was flying to Massachusetts, Raider owners Chet Soda and Wayne Valley were in New York trying to persuade Joe Cronin and Dan Topping of the American League to put an expansion baseball team in Oakland. The trip was all part of an effort to drum up support for public funding of a stadium in the East Bay. Fellow owners Robert Osborne and Ed McGah and Oakland mayor Clifford Rishell were also involved in the process. The passage of a bond issue slated for the fall election was at stake and the group hoped the prospect of a baseball team coming to town would boost their chances.
Soda thought the cost of a American League franchise would be in the neighborhood of $500,000 to $750,000 and said that if they couldn’t get a stadium in Oakland soon, the Raiders might have to move to San Francisco permanently.
Perfectly illustrating the uncertainty surrounding information coming from the AFL’s meeting in Dallas, the Atlanta bid, in a complete reversal of opinion, now appeared to be the shoo-in choice. A preliminary ballot among the seven team owners revealed a 6-1 vote in favor of the Georgia city over Oakland. George McKeon’s San Francisco proposal was now out of the running entirely. Spurred into action by the vote, the Oakland forces pulled out all the stops. Impassioned pleas for the city’s bid arrived in Dallas by telegram from mayor Clifford Rishell, congressman George Miller, and William Sparling of the Chamber of Commerce. On another front, councilman Frank Youell, in an appeal to San Francisco city officials, shamelessly went straight for the heart, asking them to allow an Oakland team to use one of their stadiums, reminding them how Oakland had opened its doors to San Franciscans after the 1906 earthquake.
Additional potential investors came to light, including local auto dealer Jack Rector, and the situation became more muddled in several ways. Reportedly, Miami had already paid the $25,000 entry fee and Atlanta was in the process of doing the same. Meanwhile, the Oakland effort was still in its earliest stages and was already running into some problems. Ted Harrer said he wouldn’t invest in a team playing in San Francisco and Robert Lurie said he would only invest if the team were to play in Candlestick Park.
Even as various local backers were jockeying for control of the project, speculation as to who might coach the team appeared in print. One of the names mentioned was Eddie Erdelatz, the former Navy coach who had been offered the Minneapolis job back in November. Erdelatz, San Francisco-born and educated just down the road at St Mary’s College in Moraga, was a friend of Rector’s and was in town to pursue the open coaching spot at the University of California.
Speaking of which, Oakland mayor Clifford Rishell had met with school regent Glenn Seaborg and was told that the decision about the stadium was solely up to university president Clark Kerr. Kerr, out of the country, was expected to return to Berkeley on the 18th.
Hayward Daily Review
The first overtures to the University of California were not promising. The school’s athletic director, Greg Engelhard, reaffirmed the university’s policy concerning use of the stadium by professional teams and said a final decision would have to be made by university president Clark Kerr, who was out of the country and unavailable until the 18th. Oakland mayor Clifford Rishell said, in the meantime, he planned to meet with Glenn Seaborg, Nobel Prize-winning chemist and member of the university’s Board of Regents, to discuss the situation.
Despite this setback, Lamar Hunt was reportedly being swayed toward supporting Oakland over Miami.
Jacksonville and Oakland emerged as additional possible sites for the last AFL franchise. Oakland was promoted as a possibility by Barron Hilton, owner of the Los Angeles Chargers, who wanted a West Coast rival. AFL founder Lamar Hunt was thought to prefer Miami. Numerous East Bay boosters stepped forward to add their support, including Oakland mayor Clifford Rishell and Berkeley city assemblyman Don Mulford. A playing site would be a problem as there were no existing facilities in the city of Oakland that were suitable. The San Francisco Giants’ new home, Candlestick Park, was mentioned as a temporary possibility pending the construction of a stadium in Oakland. Robert Moore, secretary of the San Francisco Parks and Recreation department, was interested in adding tenants, but pointed out that the Giants’ lease required the turf to be in excellent condition, something that would be a problem sharing the field with a football team. Mayor Rishell reluctantly offered his support to such a plan, but only if the team’s stay in San Francisco was temporary and short.