Former Dodgers, Angels exec Dick Walsh dead

FULLERTON, CALIF. (AP) - Dick Walsh, a former executive with the Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels and the North American Soccer League, has died. He was 85.

Walsh died of natural causes May 6 at his home in Fullerton, daughter Peggy Walsh said Wednesday.

As vice president of stadium operations for the Dodgers, Walsh played a key role in the development and construction of Dodger Stadium, which opened on April 10, 1962. He stayed with the team through the 1966 season.

“My dad had great confidence in Dick and they worked very closely together,” said Peter O’Malley, president of the Dodgers from 1970-98. “Dick deserves a lot of credit for construction, maintenance, security and landscaping of Dodger Stadium. He was a team player and had the respect of everyone in the Dodger organization.”

Later in 1966, Walsh was hired as commissioner of the North American Soccer League.

In 1968, California Angels owner Gene Autry hired Walsh as executive vice president and general manager, a position he held for three seasons.

Walsh became general manager of the Los Angeles Convention Center in 1973, a position he held for 23 years. During his tenure, he oversaw a $300 million expansion.

In 1997, Walsh moved to Honolulu and became GM of the Hawaii Convention Center for three years. He then moved to Alaska, where he oversaw five facilities in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

He later returned to California and became GM of the Ontario Convention Center, retiring in 2005, a month before his 80th birthday.

Born Richard Bishop Walsh Jr. in South Bend, Ind., and raised in Evanston, Ill., he came to Los Angeles in 1937. He was an all-city third baseman at Los Angeles High School and enlisted in the Army in 1943. He spent 32 months in the South Pacific and was discharged as a first lieutenant in 1948.

In 1948, Walsh entered the baseball business as an intern with the Fort Worth Cats in Texas, a minor league team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1951, Walsh joined the Brooklyn Dodgers as assistant farm director.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Roberta; daughters Kathleen Field and Peggy Walsh; son Richard Walsh; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

Services will be private.

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