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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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
Bud Foster, a local radio broadcaster was named as another possible candidate for the general manager post. In the meantime, the team continued to work on finding a stadium in which to play. Both the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed resolutions asking the University of California to reconsider their position forbidding the use of their stadium by a pro team.
Hayward Daily Review
In another stunning reversal, the AFL awarded the eighth and final franchise to the city of Oakland. Much of the credit for the change went to Chargers owner Barron Hilton. Hilton, who had been out of town for previous votes, made a strong plea upon his return for choosing Oakland. And on the league’s fifth ballot, the California city was chosen unanimously. Commissioner Joe Foss gave three reasons for the decision: the creation of a west coast rival for Los Angeles, the Oakland community’s strong show of interest, and better geographic balance than would have been provided by a team in Atlanta. Foss also credited a strong presentation by Chet Soda, Wayne Valley, and in particular, Robert Osborne.
Read more “January 30, 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.