Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis
First Commissioner of Major League Baseball
Kenesaw Mountain Landis was the first Commissioner of Major League Baseball. He was appointed to the position in 1920 and served until his death in 1944.
Just prior to his appointment, several members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of "throwing" the 1919 World Series. Kenesaw's first responsibility was to restore integrity to the game of baseball following the "Black Sox Scandal" of 1919.
In 1920, eight members of the Chicago White Sox were found innocent in a court of law. Nevertheless, Commissioner Landis said, "Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player that throws a ball game, no player that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing games is discussed, and does not promptly tell his team about it, will ever again play professional baseball."
Kenesaw handled the issues of the day swiftly and with a firm hand. Would he have handled a steroid scandal in the same manner? We'll never know because there was no steroid use during his tenure, nor was there a player's union.
It was all Landis.
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