Ironically, just as the golden age of baseball unfolded in New York, the seeds of its demise began to take root. New York’s economy and population, like that of the entire Northeast, were changing: manufacturing and shipping were moving out of the city, and long-time fans were moving to the suburbs or following jobs to the West and the South. Attendance at all three ballparks dropped during the period from a postwar high point of 5.5 million tickets to 3.2 million in 1957.
The moment of truth came when the Dodgers and Giants were offered sweet deals in the burgeoning California market, deals with which New York could not compete. Within months of each other, in the fall of 1957, both of New York’s National League teams left for California. Many New Yorkers never forgave the owners, Horace Stoneham of the Giants and particularly Walter O’Malley of the Dodgers, for uprooting the teams – especially since the Dodgers, unlike other teams that relocated in the 1950s, were turning a profit at home.