Remembering commissioner Bowie Kuhn

Originally Published: March 16, 2007
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
Baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis suspended the Black Sox. Happy Chandler backed up Branch Rickey's effort to integrate the National League. Ford Frick did his best to delegitimize Roger Maris' record. Peter Ueberroth made the owners a pile of money (thanks to television) and cost the owners a pile of money (thanks to collusion). Bud Selig has presided over the Lost World Series, midwifed interleague play and advocated stringent drug testing at the exact moment Congress forced him to.

Quick, though: What did Bowie Kuhn do?

One fact has been cited many times since the news of Kuhn's passing on Thursday: When he took over as commissioner in 1969, the average player salary in the majors was $19,000; when he left in 1984, it was $330,000 (which doesn't seem like much today but seemed like a king's ransom or two in '84). This fact, though, while it perhaps tells us a great deal about what happened during Kuhn's tenure, tells us little about what he actually did.

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