Bowie Kuhn: 1926-2007

My first experience of Bowie Kuhn came in 1979, when I opened the copy of the Baseball Encyclopedia that I had received as a present on my 10th birthday. “Dear Baseball Fans” Kuhn began an open letter at the front of this most wonderful of all books. At the time, the idea that the Commissioner of Baseball could be anything but a benevolent figure of authority didn’t figure into my boyish worldview. That was, sadly, the highpoint of my relationship with Kuhn; it’s been pretty much downhill ever since. Kuhn’s 15-year tenure willl be remembered primarily for the increasingly acrimonious relationship between players and owners—he presided over five work stopages—and the introduction of the DH. Baseball grew exponentially as a business during Kuhn’s reign, but his role in that growth is a matter for debate; certainly he was no match for the NFL’s Pete Rozell. Even his own law firm went bankrupt, after his term as commissioner was through. “He led our game through a great deal of change and controversy,” said Bud Selig. “Yet, Bowie laid the groundwork for the success we enjoy today.” We’ll leave it at that.

1 comment… add one
  • We’ll always wonder what the Sox could have been with Rollie Fingers closing out games. Would Kuhn have blocked the Yanks’ “trade” with Philadelphia last year for Bobby Abreu, I wonder?

    Paul SF March 16, 2007, 11:28 am

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