Ford Frick

It was fitting that the ultimate tribute to Ford Frick was his election to the Hall of Fame. He was president of the National League when the shrine was proposed, and he gave the idea his fullest support.

Frick began his career as a midwestern sports writer and moved to New York with the Hearst papers. He pioneered the nightly radio sports report, giving scores and news. In 1934 he became NL public relations director and succeeded the ailing William Heydler as NL president the next year. In 1951 he replaced Happy Chandler as Commissioner as the owners sought a less stubbornly independent figure at the helm than Chandler or the untameable Judge Landis. Much-derided for his controversial decision to attach an asterisk to Roger Maris‘s record 61 HR in the new 162-game season in 1961 (Frick had been Babe Ruth‘s ghostwriter), he saw his resourceful administration and gentle guidance of the owners away from their instinct for self-destruction overshadowed by the asterisk issue. In Frick’s wake have come General Eckert, Bowie Kuhn, and Peter Ueberroth, and a trend toward baseball as a billion-dollar business perhaps too willing to shed its old values, values the traditionalist Frick revered.