» September 6, 1920:
Hal Chase and Heinie Zimmerman are indicted on bribery charges as an aftermath of the investigation into the 1919 World Series. John McGraw testified that he dropped the two after the 1919 season for throwing games and trying to entice Fred Toney, Rube Benton and Benny Kauff to join them. Zimmerman denies the charges, Chase ignores them, but the duo will be banned for life from baseball by Judge Landis.
» October 2, 1920:
Shaken by the possible effects of the scandal
surrounding baseball, club owners begin a series of
meetings to reform the game. Albert D. Lasker, a Chicago
advertising man and minority stockholder, of the Cubs,
proposes a 3-man board of nonbaseball men, with the
chairman to be paid $25,000 year. Among the names
mentioned: Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, former president
William Howard Taft, General George Pershing, Senator
Hiram Johnson, General Leonard Wood, and ex-treasury
secretary William McAdoo.
» November 8, 1920: At a meeting to depose Ban Johnson, a new 12-team National League, made up of the dissenting 11 teams plus one of the five teams loyal to Johnson, is agreed to. John Heydler will be its president and Judge Landis the proposed chairman of the new commission. With no stomach for another war, four of the five American League clubs still backing Johnson agree to a joint meeting November 12th in Chicago.
» November 12, 1920: With Ban Johnson barred from the meeting, the 16 ML clubs settle their differences. The 12-team-league idea is discarded, and the two leagues will continue with their same identities. The owners unanimously elect Kenesaw Mountain Landis chairman for seven years. Judge Landis accepts, but only as sole commissioner with final authority over the players and owners, while remaining a federal judge (with his $7,500 federal salary deducted from the baseball salary of $50,000). The agreement will be signed on January 12, 1921, when he is to begin his duties.
» March 17, 1921:
Phils 1B Gene Paulette, ordered to appear before Commissioner Landis regarding alleged gambling, decides to retire from Organized Ball instead. He signs with a Massillon, Ohio semipro team.
» May 13, 1921: Giants OF Benny Kauff, FL batting champ in 1914 and 1915, is acquitted of auto theft charges, but Judge Landis bars him from baseball on the basis of undesirable character and reputation. Kauff goes to court for reinstatement, but fails.
» June 1, 1921: Heinie Groh finally signs with the Reds for $10,000, less than the rumored $12,000 he was holding out for. Groh wants to go to the Giants and has vowed never to wear the Reds uniform again. Commissioner Landis vetoes the deal and will reinstate him only if Groh stays with the Reds all season. The decision costs Groh a WS share, but he’ll move to New York in December.
» June 14, 1921: NL P Ray Fisher is placed permanently on the ineligible list by Commissioner Landis for alleged contract jumping. Fisher had left the Reds, thinking he was being placed on the voluntary retired list, in order to become a baseball coach at the University of Michigan. He will serve there for 38 years.
» August 2, 1921: A Chicago jury brings in a verdict of not guilty against the Black Sox. That night, jurors and defendants celebrate with a party in an Italian restaurant. Ignoring the verdict, Judge Landis bans all eight defendants from baseball for life.
» September 24, 1921:
Harry Heilmann is 3-for-4 against Walter Johnson, but Washington wins the game over Detroit, 5–1. Ty Cobb is so incense by the umpiring of Billy Evans that he challenges him to a fight. The two future Hall of Famers go at it with Cobb getting the best of Evans. George Hildebrand, the 2nd ump assigned to the game, reports the incident to American League prexy Ban Johnson. When Johnson fails to act, Commissioner Landis steps in and suspends Cobb, but allows him to continue as a non-playing manager.
» October 7, 1921:
Commissioner Landis orders the Pirates to pay a full share from the World Series pool to Tony Brottem and to Chief Yellowhorse. Yellowhorse started well but was injured much of the latter season, while Brottem joined the team in July. The Bucs had voted Brottem $200 and Yellowhorse a 2/3rd share.
» October 16, 1921:
Judge Landis outlaws gentleman's agreements and cover-ups of players optioned to the minors without proper paperwork. He declares six players free agents, including Heinie Manush, who will ride a 17-year .330 BA into the Hall of Fame in 1964.
» December 20, 1921: At the ML meetings, the American League votes to return to the best-of-7 World Series; the National League votes to keep the 5-of-9. Judge Landis casts the deciding vote, and the 4-of-7 format is reinstated.
» January 17, 1922: Benny Kauff's suit for an injunction to restrain the decision to keep him out of baseball is rejected by the appellate court. Kauff was acquitted of auto theft in 1921, but Commissioner Landis still barred him from baseball, stating, "That acquittal was one of the worst miscarriages of justice that ever came under my observation."
» February 4, 1922: Joe Harris, formerly with Cleveland, is reinstated by Judge Landis because of his good war record. Harris had been on the ineligible list for having played with and against ineligible players in independent games. "His service in France, where he was gassed after bitter fighting, caused him to do things he might not have done," says Judge Landis in reinstating him.
» February 18, 1922: Judge Landis resigns his federal judgeship, claiming the two jobs (judge and commissioner) took up too much time.
» May 20, 1922: Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel (and since-traded pitcher Bill Piercy), suspended on October 16, 1921, by Judge Landis, are reinstated and return to the New York lineup going hitless in New York's 8–2 loss to the rallying Browns at the Polo Grounds. The Browns, down 2–0 after 7, score one in the 8th and seven in the 9th, six of them coming after the game-ending out is called by ump Ollie Chill at first base. Pitcher Sam Jones, taking the throw at 1B from Wally Pipp, apparently makes the 3rd out and fans swarm the field. But Jones does not hold onto the ball cleanly and plate ump Brick Owens instructs Chill to make a safe call. The tying run scores on the play and, when the action resumes 15 minutes later, Wally Gerber singles to make the score 3–2. Walks to Sisler and Williams force home another run, and Baby Doll Jacobson clears the bases with a grand slam into the RF stands to complete the scoring. Winner Urban Shocker allows just three hits, including a two-run homer by second baseman Aaron Ward. The loss to Jones starts him on a 10-game losing streak, while a cold Ban Johnson will let umpire Ollie Chill go after the season.
» July 7, 1922:
Commissioner Landis bars ML teams from playing in Montreal.
» July 24, 1922: In the midst of a pennant fight with the Browns, the Yankees obtain Joe Dugan and OF Elmer Smith from the Red Sox for OF Chuck Fewster, SS John Mitchell, and OF Elmer Miller. This latest Sox-Yanks deal engenders such outrage in St. Louis that Commissioner Landis recommends passage of the rule that no deals, except waiver transactions, can be made after June 15.
» October 5, 1922: Bob Shawkey (20–12) goes the route, with the Giants scoring three in the first and the Yanks getting single tallies in the first, fourth, and eighth. A near-riot erupts among the 36,514 fans when umpire George Hildebrand, acting on umpire Bill Klem’s advice, calls the game, a 3–3 tie, due to darkness after 10 innings. The fans think there’s light enough to continue. It takes a police escort to get Judge Landis out of the park and away from the unruly mob. That night he bends over backwards to negate the public’s opinion that the game might have been called to provide an extra day’s gate by donating the $120,554 receipts to charities. Half will go to New York charities, and half to disabled soldiers.
» October 7, 1922: Judge Landis insists game four be played despite a heavy rain. Again one big inning—a 4-run fourth off Carl Mays (13–4)—is enough for McQuillan to squeeze out a 4–3 win. Aaron Ward’s second HR of the Series is all the long-ball clout the Yankees will display. Mays's brief collapse today, coupled with his two losses in the 1921 series, leads to rumors that he took money to throw the games. The accusations will persist for decades.
» December 14, 1922: In a joint meeting, the ban on nonwaiver trades after June 15th is approved. The National League favors a 50-player limit until June 15th, the American League votes for 40. Judge Landis breaks the deadlock in favor of 40. Compensation of World Series umpires is changed from a percentage of the players' pool to a flat $2,000.
» September 16, 1923: The Cubs lose 10–6 to the Giants in Chicago, despite the hitting of Hack Miller who collects three doubles and a triple. A riot occurs in the 8th inning when umpire Charlie Moran makes an out call at 2B on Sparky Adams, Moran is pelted by hundreds of pop bottles. Judge Landis, in attendance at the game, shakes his cane at the angry mob, and play is held up for 15 minutes. John McGraw and the umpires need a police escort at the conclusion.
» October 1, 1924: Another bribery scandal clouds the World Series atmosphere. Judge Landis bans Giants OF Jimmy O'Connell and coach Cozy Dolan from the World Series after they admit an attempt to bribe Phils SS Heinie Sand on the 27th to "go easy" in their season-ending series against the Giants. O'Connell implicates Frank Frisch, George Kelly, and Ross Youngs, who deny everything and are cleared by Landis. O'Connell is out of baseball at 23. American League President Ban Johnson, an enemy of the Giants John McGraw, proclaims that the World Series should be canceled because of the betting scandal, a pronouncement that the owners will ignore. Johnson, however, decides not to attend any World Series games.
» September 18, 1925:
Five days after making a start in a 4–3 loss to the Browns, White Sox pitcher Dickie Kerr loses his only decision this year, 11–6, to Washington. It's the last decision of his brilliant but short career. Kerr (21-17 in 1920: 19-17 in 1921) turned down Sox offer of $4,500 in 1922 and signed with a Texas semi-pro team for $5,000. Commissioner Landis suspended Kerr, and he didn't return to the ML till this month. Kerr was the winner of two games in the 1919 series
» November 29, 1926: Tris Speaker resigns as Indians manager. Stories of a thrown game and betting on games by Ty Cobb and Speaker gain momentum when Judge Landis holds a secret hearing with the two stars and former pitcher-OF Joe Wood. The story and testimony will not be released until December 21st. Former Tiger P Dutch Leonard wrote to Harry Heilmann that he had turned over letters written to him by Joe Wood and Ty Cobb to American League president Ban Johnson, implicating Wood and Cobb in betting on a Tiger-Cleveland game played in Detroit, September 25, 1919. He charged that Cobb and Speaker conspired to let Detroit win to help them gain 3rd-place money. At a secret meeting of AL directors, it was decided to let Cobb and Speaker resign with no publicity. But, as rumors spread, Judge Landis takes charge of the matter and holds the hearings, at which Leonard refuses to appear. Cobb and Wood admit to the letters, but say it was a horse racing bet, and contend Leonard is angry for having been released to the Pacific Coast League by Cobb. Speaker, not named in the letters, denies everything. Public sympathy is with the stars, but the matter will remain unresolved until January of next year.
» December 16, 1926: Judge Landis is given a new 7-year term as commissioner with a raise to $65,000.
» December 30, 1926: The Chicago Tribune breaks a story that the Tigers had thrown a 4-game series to the White Sox in 1917 to help Chicago win the pennant. Responding to the publicity, Judge Landis will begin a hearing in a week.
» January 5, 1927: Judge Landis begins a 3-day public hearing on the charges that four games played between Chicago and Detroit on September 2nd and 3rd, 1917, had been thrown to the White Sox. The White Sox, Swede Risberg contends, returned the favor for two games in 1919. Near the end of the 1917 season, some Chicago players contributed about $45 each to reward Detroit pitchers for winning the last series against Boston, helping Chicago clinch the pennant. No witnesses confirm any part of the story, although Tigers P Bill James denies ever receiving any money, and the others named deny all charges. A week after the hearing opens, Judge Landis clears all the accused, ruling lack of evidence of anything except the practice of players paying another team for winning.
» January 23, 1927: In the continuing clash between Judge Landis and Ban Johnson, the American League owners are prepared to censure Johnson. But his serious health problems convince them to change their stance and Ban Johnson is given an indefinite leave of absence instead. Detroit's President Frank Navin is named acting AL president and the owners adopt a resolution repudiating the charges that Johnson made against Landis.
» January 27, 1927: Citing accuser Dutch Leonard's refusal to appear at the hearings of January 5th, Judge Landis issues a lengthy decision clearing Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker of any wrongdoing and ordering them reinstated by their teams. Both are then made free agents. Connie Mack will sign Cobb on February 8th. Speaker will sign with Washington on January 31st for a reported $35,000. The Tribe has already chosen Jack McAllister as manager.
» April 18, 1929: After two cancellations of their season start—their first ever—the Yankees open against the Red Sox before 40,000 at the Stadium, winning 7–3. Judge Landis presents diamond-studded watches to the New York players in honor of their championship season in 1928. New York Starter George Pipgras allows just three hits in five 1/3 innings, but walks 9. Reliever Fred Heimach then pitches hitless ball to preserve the win. In his first at bat against Boston's Red Ruffing, the newly wed Babe hits a home run and as he rounds 2nd base, he doffs his cap to his bride Claire in the stands. Gehrig adds a home run in the 6th, off Milt Gaston. For the first time, the Yanks have numbers on their uniforms, assigned according to the player's spot in the lineup: Combs, 1, Koenig, two Ruth, 3, Gehrig, 4, Meusel, 5, Lazzeri 6, Durocher, 7, Grabowski, 8. The win goes to Pipgras # 14, with Heimach #17 picking up the save.
» January 20, 1930: Commissioner Landis bans boxing for all players in baseball following the brief boxing career of White Sox 1B Art Shires. His challenge to Hack Wilson purportedly prompts the ban. Shires fought several suspected bouts that resulted in his being suspended by the boxing commissions of 32 states but loses a desultory 5-rounder to Chicago Bears center George (The Brute) Trafton. Shires did win a punch out with Sox manager Lena Blackburne and two hotel detectives late last season.
» February 16, 1930: Judge Landis rules that the Cards cannot farm out C Gus Mancuso to Rochester. Forced to keep him, the commissioner's edict pays off when Cardinals regular C Jimmie Wilson is injured and Mancuso bats .366 in 76 games.
» November 10, 1930: Veteran Jim Vaughn is reinstated by Judge Landis after eight years of ineligibility. Vaughn, who had lost a double no-hitter to Fred Toney in 1917, had jumped the Cubs in 1922. He chose to pitch for a semipro team following a salary dispute with Chicago. He will go to spring training with the Cubs in 1931 but will fail to make the team at age 43.
» February 28, 1931: Ban Johnson dies after a long illness. He had created the American League and been its dynamic, dictatorial leader until subdued by the advent of Judge Landis, who took office as the first commissioner in January 1921.
» September 22, 1932:
The Cubs announce World Series shares and snub former player-manager Rogers Hornsby. Late-season arrival Mark Koenig gets just a half share. Hornsby appeals to Judge Landis, arguing that he was an active player for two-thirds of the season, and deserved a full share. Landis turns him down. In today's contest, Cubs Burleigh Grimes loses, 7–0, to Hal Smith of the Pirates. It's Hal's first major league start and his only decision of the year.
» December 15, 1932: A joint meeting of American League and National League owners approves the concept of "chain store" baseball, developed as the St. Louis Cardinal farm system, despite strenuous objections by Judge Landis.
» January 7, 1933: Baseball Commissioner Landis voluntarily cuts his salary by 40 percent as a signal that all salaries are to be trimmed because of the Depression.
» December 12, 1933: At the major leagues' annual meeting, the owners vote Judge Landis another 7-year contract as commissioner. Will Harridge gets a new 5-year pact as American League president.
» January 19, 1934: Judge Landis denies Shoeless Joe Jackson's appeal for reinstatement.
» August 16, 1934:
Dizzy Dean takes his appeal to Judge Landis in Chicago, who schedules a hearing in St. Louis.
» August 20, 1934:
Judge Landis rules against Dizzy Dean. The Cards end his suspension, and Dean returns to the team to avoid further loss in salary.
» September 13, 1934:
Judge Landis sells the WS broadcast rights to
the Ford Motor Company for $100,000. Previously no
fee had been charged.
» December 26, 1934:
Judge Landis plays Scrooge to the Dodgers and denies their claim to the services of teenager Johnny Vander Meer.
» May 23, 1935: Cleveland has an internal problem between manager Walter Johnson and two veterans, 3B Willie Kamm and Glenn Myatt. Judge Landis refuses to intervene, and Kamm is eventually made a scout while Myatt is released. Johnson continues his shaky tenure, which will not last the season.
» June 15, 1935:
In New York the Giants defeat the Cards, 7–5. Mark Koenig's single in the 8th drives in two runs to give reliever Al Smith the winning vote. Collins and Rothrock have homers for the Cards. Viewing the proceedings are Alabama Pitts, late of Sing Sing, along with Johnny Evers, manager of the Albany club (his team loses today, 12–0, to Montreal) and Warden Lewis Lawes. The three are friends and are awaiting a favorable ruling from Judge Landis that will allow Pitts to play pro baseball.
» June 17, 1935:
Judge Landis rules Alabama Pitts may play for the Albany Senators (IL) but only in regular season games—no exhibitions.
» September 3, 1935: Judge Landis rules against a $1,500 fine the Reds imposed on injured Chick Hafey, who had left the team for his home in California after asking to be placed on the voluntary disabled list. Hafey had chronic sinus and sight problems in addition to an injured shoulder. Landis grants Hafey's request and places him on the list.
» January 15, 1936: IRS figures for 1934 show Branch Rickey as the highest paid man in baseball at $49,470. Commissioner Landis had voluntarily taken a cut in 1933 from $65,000 to $40,000 because of the Depression.
» July 26, 1936: Umpire Bill Summers is forced out the game after he hit in the groin by a pop bottle thrown from an unruly crowd of 50,000 at Comiskey Park. The crowd is upset with a out call at 1B on Ray Radcliff in the 8th of the nitecap. Judge Landis, on hand to watch the game, offers a $5,000 reward over the PA system for the culprit, but only draws more boos. The deluge of pop bottles finally abates when Jimmy Dykes pleads through the field amplifier. The Yanks sweep a pair from the Sox, winning 12–3 and 11–8 in 11 innings. Lou Gehrig hits his 29th with two aboard to start New York's scoring in the opener. DiMaggio and Lazzeri add round trippers to make it easy for Johnny Broaca. Sugar Cain is the losing pitcher. In the nitecap, Gehrig adds another homer, while Zeke Bonura homers and drives home four runs for the Sox. DiMaggio has one hit, a triple. The sweep increases New York's lead to nine 1/2 games.
» November 29, 1936: Judge Landis declares Lee Handley and Johnny Peacock of the Cincinnati Reds free agents. They had been covered up on minor league teams by the Reds.
» December 10, 1936: Commissioner Landis announces his ruling on the Bob Feller case. Feller joined Cleveland in July and Des Moines (Western League) protested, claiming the pitcher for themselves. Landis let Feller stay with Cleveland, pending his final ruling, which is announced today in favor of the Indians.
» May 26, 1937:
Joe McCarthy of the Yankees and Bill Terry of the Giants are named to manage the All-Star teams. Judge Landis announces that the managers, not the fans, will pick the teams, and increases the squads from 21 to 23 players.
» March 23, 1938: Judge Landis frees 74 Cardinal minor leaguers, among them Pete Reiser, in yet another attempt to halt the cover-up he perceived the farm system caused. Larry MacPhail makes a pact with Branch Rickey to take the unknown player and swap him back in the future, but Reiser's ability is too great to hide.
» December 14, 1938: The major leagues agree on a standard ball but disagree on increasing rosters from 23 to 25 players. Judge Landis will decide on 25. The National League grants Cincinnati its season opener a day before the rest of the league in recognition of baseball's 100th anniversary and the 1869 Red Stockings being the first professional team. The American League permits Cleveland and Philadelphia to play night games. Will Harridge is elected to a 10-year-term as AL president.
» November 29, 1939: Judge Landis fines Brooklyn, Detroit, and the St. Louis farm club, Columbus, for manipulating player contracts. He frees seven farm hands.
» December 8, 1939:
At the December meeting of both leagues in Cincinnati, Judge Landis votes against all amendments favorable to farm systems. The Rules committee, with an eye towards raising declining batting averages, votes to restore the sacrifice fly for 1940. Seven American League owners push through a new rule barring the American League champion from making any trades within the league. Clearly aimed at the Yankees, winners of the last four world series, the National League owners decline to vote it for their league.
» December 9, 1939: Wally Moses is traded by the Philadelphia A's to Detroit for Benny McCoy and George Coffman. The deal is later voided by Judge Landis, who declares McCoy a free agent because of a Tigers cover-up. He gets a $10,000 bonus to sign with the A's.
» May 21, 1940:
The Phils sign pitcher Cy Blanton when he is made a free agent by the Pirates on orders from Commissioner Landis.
» May 26, 1940: The Reds receive their 1939 World Series rings from Commissioner Landis and then beat the Cardinals 1–0 on Paul Derringer's one-hitter. Stu Martin's 1st inning single is the only hit. In the stands are 21 fans who saw the 1869 champion Reds in action.
» May 31, 1942:
Before 22,000 at Griffith Stadium, Satchel Paige pitches five innings to defeat the Dizzy Dean All-Stars, 8–1. Dean pitches just the first inning, giving up three hits and two runs. Private Cecil Travis plays 3B. The game a week earlier, in which Paige won 3–1 at Wrigley Field, drew 29,000. Judge Landis will prohibit a scheduled July 4th matchup because the first two games outdrew ML games.
» July 15, 1942:
"There is no rule, formal or informal, against the
hiring of Negro players," says Judge Landis in response to an editorial in the New York Daily Worker newspaper.
» January 5, 1943: In Chicago, the teams agree to start the season later than usual and prepare to train in areas north of the so-called Eastman-Landis line (named after Joseph Eastman, head of the Department of Transportation, and Judge Landis), an area East of the Mississippi and North of the Ohio and Potomac rivers. The two St. Louis teams are excluded, though they will train in Missouri. Resorts, armories, and university facilities are chosen for training sites. The Dodgers will train at Bear Mountain, NY; Cards, at Cape Girardeau, MO; the Yankees, in Atlantic City. The Red Sox go to Tufts College.
» November 23, 1943: Commissioner Landis rules that Phils owner William
D. Cox is permanently ineligible to hold office
or be employed in baseball for having bet on his own
team. The Carpenter family of Delaware will buy the
Philadelphia club and Bob Carpenter, age 28, will
become president. The Phils, in an effort to change
their image, will conduct a contest for a new name.
The winning entry, the Blue Jays, submitted by a Mrs.
John Crooks, will be the unofficial team name
for 1944-45 until abandoned in 1946.
» December 2, 1943: With only nine minor leagues operating during the season, the minor league convention in New York has an incipient revolt to oust longtime head William G. Bramham in favor of Frank Shaughnessy, president of the International League, who had five pledges. But Bramham rules that 15 non operating circuits which had paid dues are eligible to vote. Five of the leagues had given proxies. A later appeal to Commissioner Landis fails.
» November 25, 1944: Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball's first commissioner,
dies of a heart attack at age 78 in Chicago. The Commissioner
had ruled over baseball since November 1920 in the
wake of the Black Sox scandal, and wielded authority
perhaps unparalleled in any other industry. Landis
had entered the hospital on October 2nd. He will be
named to the Hall of Fame on December 9th by a special
committee which he formed on August 4th.
» April 24, 1945: At a meeting of owners in Cleveland a list of possible successors to Judge Landis is cut to 6: Ford Frick, president of the National League, and five politicians, Jim Farley, Carl Vinson, Robert Patterson, Bob Hannegan, and Frank Lausche. Larry MacPhail suggests adding the name of Albert "Happy" Chandler, a Kentucky senator. The list then narrows to Chandler and Hannegan. On the first ballot Chandler leads 11-5, short of the required three-fourths. One vote switches over, and the owners unanimously approve the selection. Also approved is the Malaney Plan for interleague play, first brought up at the February meeting. Besides the same-city games, Cincinnati will play at Cleveland, Brooklyn at Washington, and Detroit at Pittsburgh. The latter contest will later be scrapped when the ODT refused to grant the Tigers permission to detour 62 miles to get to Pittsburgh. The seven benefit games will held on July nine and 10.
» April 30, 1945:
The Tigers swap outfielder-3B Don Ross and 2B Dutch Meyer to the Indians for Roy Cullenbine, one of the Detroit players freed by Judge Landis in 1940. Landis had specified that none of the new free agents could play for the Tigers for three years.