Ivan Allen and the Stadium
In this cover story from August 1964, now-legendary sports columnist Furman Bisher projected the impact that the new stadium would have on Atlanta’s economy and reputation. Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. was spearheading the venture—although the city had yet to be granted a franchise. No worry, asserted Bisher. Allen and the “Atlanta Whatachumacallits” would give the city “an entirely fresh image throughout the country.”
There’s a cavernous concrete oval rising like an elevator on the edge of town, and Ivan Allen Jr. has staked a piece of his political future on his ability to fill it with mayor league ballplayers and playing customers. What will it mean for the city?
By Furman Bisher
Say the San Francisco Giants, featuring the incompaorable Willie Mays, are in town to play the Atlanta Whatachumacallits in a weekend series of National League games.
On a Saturday morning, 400 festive excursionists will climb aboard a train in Chattanooga, Tenneseee, and the train will point its snub nose in the direction of Atlanta.
In Jacksonville, Florida, a charter airline will pack eighty passengers aboard on a Sunday morning and take off for Atlanta. That afternoon, the eighty Floridians will watch a doubleheader, have dinner in local restaurants, then fly home that night.
Private planes will lift off runways over the whole South and their piots will aim them toward some haven near Atlanta at intervals over the same exciting weekend. All bunched together, they will provide Willie Mays with another appreciative audience.