January 29, 1960

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.

Oakland Tribune

January 28, 1960

The news out of Dallas was that Atlanta was probably out of the running and that the competition was now between Chet Soda’s Oakland group and and George McKeon’s San Francisco assemblage. While the AFL continued their deliberations, Robert Osborne returned to Oakland to report to the city council. During the council’s meeting, they voted to put a measure on the June ballot to finance a stadium with revenue bonds.

Oakland Tribune

January 27, 1960

Developments in the Oakland ownership derby became more muddled. One of the potential bidders, Bill Jackson, had flown to Dallas to make a presentation, but after witnessing Chet Soda’s pitch, Jackson withdrew from the process, saying Soda had done a great job. However, back in the Bay Area, a fourth group emerged. This one was led by George McKeon, son of a local construction firm owner, and Kezar Stadium concessionaire Bernard Hagen. McKeon and Hagen had sent a telegram to the league asking for consideration of their bid for a team representing San Francisco.

In Dallas, the AFL continued to weigh their options. Observers thought Oakland now had the inside track and that the San Francisco bid seemed unlikely to get much support. These sources pointed out that the AFL had already invaded two NFL cities, New York and Los Angeles, and even a third, if Dallas counted. But the league was still clearly undecided. Bud Adams of Houston and Ralph Wilson of Buffalo were said to favor Atlanta, while Dallas’s Lamar Hunt and Barron Hilton in Los Angeles were Oakland backers. Aiding the Oakland position was confirmation by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Commission that Kezar Stadium and Candlestick Park would be available as long as a team’s needs didn’t conflict with those of the Giants and 49ers.

Oakland Tribune