Happy Chandler

Chandler was the second Commissioner, succeeding the legendary Judge Landis. He was elected in 1945, after having served as Governor of Kentucky for four years and U.S. Senator for six. He was perceived as a players’ Commissioner, and he cautioned owners to be less stubborn to avoid later confrontations. His advice was ignored.

Despite the negative feelings of most club owners, he supported the entry of Jackie Robinson into the major leagues. When some players jumped to the Mexican League in 1946, he suspended them for five years (but gave them blanket amnesty in 1949). He suspended Dodgers manager Leo Durocher for one year for a series of actions detrimental to baseball’s image, including consorting with gamblers. He was the first to put six umpires on the field for the World Series.

Having made some decisions that riled several owners, he was fired after one term, receiving only nine of the twelve votes necessary to continue. When he left, his reputation for being good-humored, iron-willed, and honest remained intact. He had put the players’ pension fund on a sound footing, averted threats to the reserve clause, and helped open the ML door for black players. In 1982 he was named to the Hall of Fame.

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