The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Black Lakers players barred from white hotel, January 17, 1959




1959_0117_cover
The Times reports that detention facilities for juvenile girls is badly overcrowded but doesn't really address the reason, merely saying that the rapid increase in Southern California's population and lack of room at state facilities are to blame. But why were they suddenly locking up so many girls? I hope we find out in the days ahead. --lrh
1959_0117_baylor I've been looking for references to the Lakers to see when The Times started reporting on their eventual move from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. This story caught my attention for all the obvious reasons.

Elgin Baylor sat out a game during his rookie season with the Lakers after he was denied a room at a Charleston, W.Va., hotel. According to the short wire story published by The Times, "The entire Minneapolis team walked out of a midtown hotel after Baylor and two other Negro members of the Lakers were denied rooms."

"They told us there we couldn't even get in a halfway decent restaurant and we had to buy some things from the grocery store and make sandwiches for dinner," Baylor said.

The Lakers lost to Cincinnati, 95-91. Baylor watched the game on the bench in street clothes.

A story the following day said Baylor would not be disciplined. "I know his failure to play cost us the game but he was under great emotional strain because of his attitude toward segregation," owner Bob Short said.

--Keith Thursby

1959_0117_theater

Sinatra and Nelson Riddle at the Sands!

1959_0117_sports

UCLA over USC 57-53 at the Pan-Pacific!

 
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Bob Short, the Minneapolis Lakers' owner (who, despite his Minnesota background, moved the team to Los Angeles before selling it for a healthy profit), bought the expansion Washington Senators a decade later, alienated the D.C. public with the highest ticket prices in the majors despite so-so product on the field, and eventually moved the franchise to Dallas-Fort Worth (they are now the Texas Rangers), leaving Washington without major league baseball for 33 years. (I hope Los Angeles fans don't have to wait that long for the return of pro football.) He died in the 1980s -- after an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate -- but remains arguably the most despised figure in Washington sports history (with the possible exception of Calvin Griffith, who moved the original Senators to Minnesota just as they were jelling into the nucleus of the contending Twins teams of the 1960s)..


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