November 6, 1960

With the players off for another day, talk centered around where the Raiders would play for the remainder of this year and long term. The ownership group was scheduled to meet tomorrow to discuss the San Leandro proposal, but there were no indications as to which way the owners would vote. There was also talk that the group would discuss a reorganization of the team’s management.

While San Leandro was still on the table, it was a good bet that the team would not be playing in a local college stadium. With regard to Stanford Stadium or Memorial Stadium in Berkeley,Stanford assistant athletic director Chuck Taylor said, “I don’t believe this will happen here in the foreseeable future. There might possibly be a one-shot deal worked out some time, but not for this year. There are a lot of problems to be solved, among them the tax difficulty were we to use our facilities for activities not related to educational purposes.”

Unattributed rumors continued to circulate that the team was considering a move to Seattle, Portland, or San Diego.

In addition to the owners’ confab, there was also a joint meeting planned on the 9th between the Alameda County Supervisors and the Oakland City Council to discuss the Oakland stadium proposal. There were two sites to discuss. The first, the Peralta site, would be built on 72 acres south and east of Oakland Auditorium and Exposition Building between Oak Street and Fifth Avenue at a cost of $20,940,000. The second, the Hegenberger Road site, would be built on 140 acres between 66th Avenue and Hegenberger Road and between the Nimitz Freeway and Southern Pacific railroad tracks at a cost of $17,530,000.

A funding plan was put forth by Robert Nahas, a recent president of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. The city and county would acquire the land jointly in a lease-purchase agreement and a non-profit corporation would be formed by local business leaders to gain funding and build the stadium. Income would be derived through rental of the stadium to the Raiders and other parties who wished to use it. These rents would cover expenses and pay down the loan. Shortfalls would be made good by tax revenues from the general funds of the city and county, a situation expected to exist over the first few years. Once the loan was paid off, the non-profit would dissolve, and the city and county would take over joint ownership of the facility.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
Pasadena Independent Star-News
San Francisco Chronicle

 

November 3, 1960

Team co-owner Robert Osborne responded to Chet Soda’s remarks yesterday about moving the team. “This team will not leave Oakland. I promise it will stay here,” he said, and characterized some of his fellow owners as “crybabies who don’t like losing money that they had known and anticipated they were going to lose.”

Osborne went on, saying, “Soda has no authority to make a statement that the club plans to leave. It is our civic duty to keep the team in Oakland. Oakland has been good to us. We made our money here.”

He also weighed in on the rumor that Eddie Erdelatz was planning to decamp for the Giants. “There is no truth that he intends to leave this team,” he said. “He has a two-year contract and he has fielded a wonderful club from players nobody else wanted. I’m sure Eddie will be with us next year.”

Osborne and Wayne Valley were still lobbying the American League trying to get a baseball team for Oakland, giving further impetus to getting a stadium built in the area. Addressing upcoming talks with AL president Joe Cronin, he said, “I’m satisfied our talk will have good results and the owners of the new franchise will not alone be the Raider owners. It will be open to others as well.”

Concerning a stadium, the Oakland City Council received a report today from the head of Tudor Engineering who said a facility could be built at a cost of 17 to 21 million dollars. The building would have an 80,000-seat capacity for football and seat 48,000 for baseball. There would be space indoors for further amenities. Bowling alleys and rifle ranges were mentioned. City Manager Wayne Thompson said such a project would be funded by a combination of private investment and bonds issued by Alameda County.

Amid all the noise upstairs, the players and coaches continued to prepare for tomorrow night’s game against Boston. Erdelatz was worried his team might be too confident after beating the Titans last week. The Patriots were coming off a lopsided defeat by the Chargers and the Raider coach was hesitant to show his players films of the game. “Boston had a bad night,” Erdelatz said, “which happens to teams now and then, and I just didn’t want our kids thinking they had a patsy.” With wet and miserable weather in the area all week, the team had been practicing at indoor facilities where available.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

November 2, 1960

A story appeared in the Boston American under the byline of Huck Finnegan that Eddie Erdelatz would be the coach of the New York Giants for the 1961 season. Without corroboration from any of the principals in the story, Finnegan stated, “This is fact. It will be denied by Erdelatz, the Giants, and the rest, but it will become reality at the close of the season.”

He based the conclusion on Erdelatz spending time with the Mara family, owners of the Giants, at last Sunday’s game against the Cardinals and said the deal had been brokered by Toots Shor, the well-connected New York restaurateur. Finnegan also said the Raider coach was dissatisfied with the poor fan support the team had received at Kezar Stadium and that this figured into the decision to leave. Read more “November 2, 1960”

November 1, 1960

Just three days ago, a plane chartered to fly the Cal Poly football team home from Toledo crashed during takeoff, killing 22 of the 48 passengers aboard. The event caused a nationwide discussion about the safety of plane travel for sports teams. Alex Bravo, a Cal Poly alum and former Mustangs assistant, spoke sorrowfully of the event saying that if the Raiders hadn’t signed him, “I would have been on that plane. Most of those players were friends of mine. What can you say?”

The Raiders, on the road in Boston, said they wouldn’t change their plan to fly home after Friday night’s game. In the meantime, the team continued to practice. Aside from the usual wear and tear associated with weeks of playing football, the team reported no significant injuries and expected the entire roster to be ready to go against the Patriots.

Back home, during an evening meeting, the San Leandro Board of Education approved a proposal to let the Raiders play on the grounds of Pacific High School pending an agreement with the team regarding parking, improvements to the stadium, and other conditions.

Hayward Daily Review
Oakland Tribune
San Francisco Chronicle

 

October 31, 1960

The pursuit of San Leandro as a site for the team’s remaining home games this season was tabled a couple of days ago but was revived today. Contradicting Chet Soda’s announcement that the Raiders were no longer interested in playing on the Pacific High School campus, the team’s business manager, Bud Hastings, announced that he had put together the documents needed to request permission from the school district.

The San Leandro Chamber of Commerce was vigorously pushing the plan, while noting that it was a temporary measure to see if the Raiders could generate more support in the East Bay than they had in San Francisco. The proposal still needed to gain the approval of both Soda, who was on record as opposing it, and Wayne Valley, the San Leandro resident who initially brought up the idea. Presumably, the other owners would have to weigh in, too.

Hayward Daily News

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