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 Raiders held their second scrimmage of camp and this time owners Don Blessing, Ed McGah, Chet Soda, and Wayne Valley were there to observe. Tom Flores led the first-string “gold” squad while Paul Larson ran the second-string “blue” team. Observers thought Larson’s group performed slightly better, with Larson showing a knack for the bootleg run, but also thought both units showed real improvement since the first scrimmage, four days ago. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz singled out offensive linemen Wayne Hawkins, Jim Otto, and Ron Sabal, along with cornerback Joe Cannavino, for praise, and thought the defense in general showed good speed to the ball.
“It was a better scrimmage than last Tuesday”, according to Erdelatz, “but overall I would have to say it was just fair. The running was improved but we dropped too many passes. The defensive line pursuit was fine. We are getting better in all departments and, considering the short amount of practice, we don’t look too bad.”
Oakland’s team ownership confirmed Chet Soda as general manager, removing the word “acting” from his title. Soda, along with Wayne Valley and Robert Osborne, were the members of an executive committee tasked with other high-level hires, particularly the head coach position. Phil Bengtson and Eddie Erdelatz continued to be the front-runners for the job. Soda, a businessman with little to no football experience, was likely to hire someone more knowledgeable for the assistant GM spot. In the meantime, he expected to open a team office in Oakland within a few days and fill more administrative positions by the end of the week.
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”
In Dallas, Chet Soda, supported by fellow investors Robert Osborne and San Leandro contractor Wayne Valley, made his presentation to the AFL. An Atlanta group was also there making a competing bid. No consensus had yet emerged, though some thought Houston owner Bud Adams was leaning toward Atlanta because it would make for an easier split of the league into eastern and western divisions and because there was a strong untapped market for professional football in the South.