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Buckminster Dome Could Have Kept the Dodgers in Brooklyn

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The New York Mets could be heading to the World Series after tonight: The team currently lead the Chicago Cubs by three games (to the Cubbies' zero) in the National League Championship Series, and the fourth game happens at Wrigley Field this evening. But if it weren't for Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley and urban planner Robert Moses—and a very odd plan for a stadium in Kings County—the Amazin's might not have ever existed. Gothamist dug up plans for a Buckminster Fuller-designed domed arena, proposed by Dodgers owner O'Malley, that would have kept the team in Brooklyn; alas, it never got past the planning phase, thanks to Moses, who said at the time, "I just don't want to see a baseball field in downtown Brooklyn at all. The streets will never handle all the cars." (LOL.)

In 1955, Ebbets Field, the Dodgers' home in Flatbush, was crumbling and not particularly accessible to the fans. Plenty of seats went empty, and the players were demoralized. O'Malley, who was jonseing to build a stadium at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues (close to the present-day Barclays Center), wrote to legendary architect Fuller asking for a domed stadium. "I am not interested in just building another baseball park," he said.

The concept Fuller came up with would have been 300 feet tall and measured 750 feet in diameter, though, apparently, no seating capacity was determined. There would have been restaurants, shops, and underground parking, and it would have sat where the Atlantic Terminal Mall is now.

While there was some enthusiasm for the project, it couldn't compete with the tenacity of Moses, who envisioned a baseball stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. "Your domed stadium would create a China Wall of traffic," he apparently told O'Malley. But the Dodgers owner didn't like the Flushing Meadows option because it would have meant a municipally-administered stadium outside of the borough of Brooklyn.

In the end, the lure of a brand new stadium that O'Malley could control became too strong, and he took the Dodgers to Los Angeles following the 1957 season. The departure of the Dodgers (and the New York Giants for San Francisco) left a National League void in New York City until 1962, when the New York Mets played their first season—and two years later, they moved into the newly-built Shea Stadium in Flushing, just as Moses wanted. Does this mean Mets fans have Robert Moses to thank for the team's current success? You gotta believe!
· Behold, The 1950s Baseball Dome That Would Have Kept The Dodgers In Brooklyn [Gothamist]
· All New York Mets coverage [Curbed]
· More Curbed's Could Have Been [Curbed]