October 29, 1960

While the players were taking a day off following the win over the Titans, a pair of controversies dominated Raider news today. The first concerned a report that Chet Soda had sold 50% of his share of the team to Frederick Sullivan, the president of a San Francisco travel agency. Sullivan, whose firm numbered the Raiders among its clients, was the source of the news and he also asserted that three other owners had sold part of their financial shares to other parties. These sales, according to Sullivan, did not include voting rights. Soda denied the story. However, the team’s PR director, Jack Gallagher, acknowledged there was a provision in the ownership agreement that allowed owners to sell a portion of their share as long as voting rights were not transferred with the sale. Sellers of partial shares did not have to reveal names of the buyers to the other owners.

The other controversy involved a dispute between Eddie Erdelatz and Titans owner Harry Wismer. What was being characterized in the press as a “feud”, began on the Wednesday before the game. Wismer had invited Erdelatz to a cocktail party thrown for the press. Erdelatz did not attend, citing previous obligations, but Wismer took it as a snub and called Erdelatz “uncooperative and a troublemaker.”

Erdelatz responded by saying, “Wismer himself is hardly the most popular man in (New York) and being on his ‘list’ doesn’t bother me a bit.”

Not letting matters stand there, Wismer, an old radio hand, said on the air that the Raiders had arrived late to the game and that Erdelatz missed the beginning altogether. Scotty Stirling, the Oakland Tribune’s beat writer verified that the Raider coach had accompanied the team to the game and that they had arrived on time.

Marty Feldman confirmed this, saying, “We were in the Polo Grounds at the normal time and Eddie was certainly with us.” Erdelatz was unavailable for comment.

In less incendiary news, Soda announced that the team was abandoning its pursuit of playing the last three home games of 1960 in the Pacific High School stadium in San Leandro.

Oakland Tribune

October 27, 1960

Reports surfaced today that the Raiders had been investigating the possibility of playing their final three home games in San Leandro on the campus of Pacific High School. The idea was first broached by Raider co-owner and San Leandro resident Wayne Valley, who suggested that the location was ideal for the team as a temporary home pending the construction of a permanent stadium in the East Bay.

Bud Hastings, the team’s assistant general manager, made a pitch to the school board yesterday and said it would be followed up by a formal request soon.

“This is all in a highly preliminary stage,” he said. “We haven’t as yet completely analyzed all the financial factors.” Not least among those factors was the installation of seats. The current football field at the newly-built school had room for just 500 attendees and the team wanted a capacity of 20,000. The cost of building and installing the seats was estimated at $100,000 and would take upwards of a month to be completed. Parking was another issue that would require a significant amount of planning and effort.

However, Hastings believed that their current situation was untenable. “We’re an East Bay community ballclub and at Kezar in San Francisco we just aren’t at home. We’ve had a number of people tell us they would go to games if they were held in the East Bay.”

As far as anyone could tell, there was nothing in the school district charter that prevented such an arrangement as long as the team footed the bill. At least some of the school board members were thought to be receptive to the idea, while others seemed to need more information before reaching a conclusion on the matter.

One who was open to the notion was Chamber of Commerce member Frank King, who said, “Playing in San Leandro would give the Raiders a chance to test the market on this side of the bay, and it might provide the necessary stimulus to the building of a modern stadium. We don’t care whether it’s in San Leandro or Oakland, as long as it’s built.”

No changes could be made in time for the team’s next home game on November 13, against the Bills, but the team hoped to be able to leave Kezar for the last three games of the season, all at home, in December.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Mateo Times

October 26, 1960

Baseball’s American League announced their expansion plans for the 1961 season and there were modest repercussions in Raider land. Two of the team’s owners, Robert Osborne and Chet Soda, were part of a group trying to entice the league to put a team in the East Bay. The Junior Circuit chose Los Angeles and Washington instead, with the latter going in as a replacement for the Senators, who were moving to the Twin Cities.

Osborne and Soda were, at least in part, hoping to create more of an incentive for the city of Oakland to help fund a stadium for the Raiders, but it was not to be, not immediately, anyway. Osborne was still hopeful that the American League might choose to add two more cities down the road and that one of them could be Oakland, or perhaps an existing team could move to the area.

“In that time, we could have a stadium built,” he said. “A few commitments not yet finalized are all that is holding the Oakland group back. If Oakland doesn’t get off the ground on building a stadium, I personally would love to see it built in southern Alameda County.”

Hayward Daily Review

September 29, 1960

The big news today was a story that two members of the Raider ownership group, Chet Soda and Robert Osborne, were also part of a project hoping to bring an American League baseball team to the East Bay.

“We have a group of fellows who would be ready to finance the franchise if word of approval were given that a move would be made this way,” said Osborne, “but it would be on the basis that an American League franchise also would be shifted to the Los Angeles area.”

Soda pointed out that all was contingent on getting a new stadium. “It’s long range planning,” he said, “we don’t know exactly what we will be able to do. We know that to get a franchise, we first must have a stadium in which to play. But to get the stadium, we certainly are going to have to have assurance that we’ll get a franchise. I know we would draw at least 30,000 a game for our football team if we had a stadium. “Playing in San Francisco, the fans there owe us no loyalty and our Oakland-area fans just don’t want to drive that far.”

Hayward mayor RK Dettenrieder wanted to let people know his city was working on the problem. “The possibility of an American League baseball franchise along with an AFL franchise in the city limits of Hayward are being thoroughly explored,” he said, “it has been definitely determined that private capital is available at a low rate of interest to finance an adequate stadium in Hayward, and that’s a big hurdle to clear.”

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune


August 25, 1960

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.

Oakland Tribune

June 24, 1960

The team announced that training camp would open July 11. The expected site was to be Santa Cruz on the north end of Monterey Bay. No official announcement had been made, but all signs pointed in that direction.

In other site news, the 49ers announced they had signed a ten year lease to play in Kezar Stadium following the 1961 campaign, meaning the Raiders would have to find another place to call home by then.

Oakland Tribune

May 16, 1960

Raiders owner and general manager Chet Soda announced the team would play its 1960 regular season home games in Kezar Stadium. The team came to the decision by a vote of ownership and was currently negotiating with the San Francisco Park and Recreation Commission to set terms. While the regular season was now set, the team was looking into regional sites for their preseason contests. Though the exhibition opener was to be in Kezar, the team thought they might schedule a game in Sacramento or another city in the area.

Oakland Tribune

May 5, 1960

Even as the Raiders were finalizing their preseason roster, there will still large logistical problems to solve, such as finding a place to play. Some small measure of progress was finally made when the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission announced they had granted permission to the team to play the exhibition opener on July 31 against the Dallas Texans at Kezar Stadium.

While the team was certain to play its games across the bay, there was still hope they would have some kind of presence in the East Bay. To that end, Alameda County offered the county fairgrounds in Pleasanton to the team as the site for their training camp. County Supervisor Chester Stanley explained, “This is an Alameda County team and we should keep it here to train.”

Oakland Tribune

February 19, 1960

Following a public hearing at which many Oakland politicians and team supporters testified, the University of California regents formally, and with finality, refused the pros permission to use Memorial Stadium for football. General manager Chet Soda took the decision in stride and said he had been focusing his efforts toward Candlestick Park.

“We’ve looked into the matter thoroughly,” he explained. “We have talked with Giants’ officials. We have maps, blueprints, and verbal assurances. Candlestick Park would take care of all our problems. It has lights, adequate parking, and abundant seats.”

Oakland Tribune

February 5, 1960

Though University of California president Clark Kerr was still on record opposing the use of Memorial Stadium by the pros, the school’s board of regents succumbed to legislative pressure and agreed to conduct an open hearing about the topic on February 20.

In other news, the Cal football team surprised observers by hiring the University of New Mexico’s Marv Levy to be the Bears’ new coach. This announcement gave more support to rumors that Eddie Erdelatz was in line for the Oakland job.

Hayward Daily Review