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”

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 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

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

July 23, 1960

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 Tribune

February 7, 1960

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.

Oakland Tribune

January 30, 1960

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”

January 26, 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.

Oakland Tribune