Harry Pulliam

Pulliam, “an idealist, a dreamer, a lover of solitude and nature,” was city editor of the Louisville Commercial when Barney Dreyfuss convinced him to become club secretary for the Louisville team he’d purchased in the NL. In 1900 he moved with Dreyfuss to Pittsburgh. His reputation for honesty and his businesslike approach to baseball won him his election as NL president in 1903. He helped forge a peace between the AL and NL that resulted in the National Agreement that governed baseball through 1920. Fearless and honest in enforcing league rules, he was strongly criticized by New York’s John McGraw over the 1908 Merkle incident and also came into conflict with Charles W. Murphy, the Chicago owner, over a ticket-scalping controversy. Pulliam was of a nervous temperament and proved unable to cope with criticism. In February 1909 he showed signs of mental illness and was given a leave of absence. He returned to work but remained moody and uncommunicative. On July 25, 1909, he committed suicide.