Rosalind Wyman Dodgers USC award
Rosalind Wiener Wyman receiving a USC alumni award in 1964. (Photo/Herald-Examiner Collection, Los Angeles Public Library)

Los Angeles wouldn’t be the same without the Dodgers, and you can thank Rosalind “Roz” Wiener Wyman ’52 for that. At a time when many women weren’t encouraged to pursue high-profile careers—much less public office—Wyman blazed her own trail in politics, breaking more than a few glass ceilings along the way while leaving an indelible mark on Los Angeles sports.

A Los Angeles native, Wyman grew up in a family that valued politics. A photo in her baby book shows her at age two standing next to a Franklin Delano Roosevelt billboard. For years she sent letters to Roosevelt: “I wrote to him as if he were an uncle,” she remembers. Upon his death, the bereft 14-year-old’s sense of civic duty was cemented.

ROZ WYMAN’S ROAD TO USC

As a student government leader at Los Angeles High School, Wyman became well known by the vice principal, to whom she regularly presented “crazy ideas.” She rallied for lunch mixers to bring lonely students together and pushed for school dances for those who couldn’t afford country club dances.

She became the first woman to run a national political convention, preside over the Los Angeles City Council, serve as acting mayor of Los Angeles and direct a campaign to create more parks.

At USC, she worked as part of the student government to bring speakers to the university and plan campus events. After graduating from USC, the 22-year-old public administration major ran for Los Angeles City Council. Campaign headquarters were in Wyman’s living room, where USC students volunteered. “I literally wore out 13 pairs of shoes doing precinct work,” she says. A photo of those shoes made it into Life magazine. A longshot candidate, Wyman became the youngest elected legislator in a major U.S. city, a title she still holds.

THE BROOKLYN DODGERS BECOME THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS

One of Wyman’s campaign platform promises was to bring major league sports to Los Angeles. At the time, no major league teams called the West Coast their home. She penned a letter to the owner of the hottest sports team at that time: the Brooklyn Dodgers. Owner Walter O’Malley refused to even talk with Wyman. Still, she says, “I didn’t quit.” Pregnant at the time, Wyman continued her crusade, pointing out that rainouts would be a thing of the past in sunny L.A.

Eventually one of the city supervisors convinced O’Malley to take a helicopter ride above Chavez Ravine. From that vantage point, O’Malley could imagine how a baseball stadium might fit. Their persistence paid off, opening a new chapter in L.A. history by bringing the Dodgers to Los Angeles—and kicking off a lifelong friendship between Wyman and O’Malley. Wyman would later also be instrumental in moving the Lakers to L.A. from Minneapolis.

Her career in politics led to a number of milestones as she became the first woman to run a national political convention, preside over the Los Angeles City Council, serve as acting mayor of Los Angeles and direct a campaign to create more parks: the Campaign for Acquisition of Land.

Steadfast over these years was Wyman’s friendship with O’Malley, who never forgot the role she played in his team’s history. After O’Malley’s death in 1979, Wyman received a phone call from his son, Peter. His father had left behind a special key said to fit every door in Dodger Stadium. Only one person could have it.

Wyman still proudly holds the key to this day.

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