Kenesaw Mountain Landis

1st MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis

Profession: 1st MLB Commissioner

United States of America

Biography: Kenesaw Mountain Landis was a United States federal judge from 1905 to 1922 and was the first Commissioner of Baseball from 1920 until his death in 1944.

His iron rule over the sport is credited with restoring public confidence in baseball after the Black Sox scandal in which he expelled 8 members of the Chicago White Sox for allegedly conspiring to lose the 1919 World Series.

Landis has been blamed for delaying the racial integration of baseball but major positives during his time were the crackdown in gambling, the development of the farm system and the annual All-Star game. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by a special vote shortly after his death.

Born: November 20, 1866
Birthplace: Millville, Ohio, USA
Star Sign: Scorpio

Died: November 25, 1944 (aged 78)
Cause of Death: Heart failure

Historical Events

  • 1920-11-12 Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis elected 1st baseball commissioner by team owners
  • 1921-12-20 AL votes to return to best-of-7 World Series, while NL votes best-of-9; Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis casts deciding vote for best-of-7
  • 1922-02-18 Kenesaw Mountain Landis resigns his federal judgeship to give full attention to job as Major League Baseball Commissioner
  • 1922-05-20 Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel, previously suspended by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, return to the NY Yankees lineup and go hitless
  • 1922-10-07 MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis insists Game 4 of World Series be played despite heavy rain
  • 1926-12-16 MLB owners renew contract with Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for a second 7-years term
  • 1927-01-05 MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis begins 3-day public hearing on charges that 4 games played between Chicago & Detroit in 1917 had been thrown to White Sox
  • 1934-01-19 MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis denies Joe Jackson's appeal for reinstatement into baseball; Jackson was banned after 1919 "Black Sox" World Series
  • 1934-09-13 MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis sells World Series broadcast rights to Ford for $100,000
  • 1938-03-23 MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis frees 74 St Louis Cardinals minor league players from their contracts
  • 1938-07-31 MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis suspends New York Yankees outfielder Jake Powell after he said on Chicago radio he kept in shape by "cracking" African Americans over the head with his nightstick
  • 1938-12-14 Major League Baseball agrees on use of a standard ball; disagrees on increasing rosters from 23 to 25 players, although Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis eventually decides on 25
  • 1940-01-14 MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis gives free agency to 91 Detroit Tigers minor league players
  • 1942-01-15 US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sends his famed "Green Light Letter" to MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, encouraging baseball to continue playing during World War II
  • 1943-12-04 MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis announces any baseball club may sign Negroes

Biographies and Sources

Famous Baseball Managers