This article was written by Mark Armour
This article was published in the
“Proposed Reorganization of Baseball”
The formal report, Proposed Reorganization of Baseball, drew from information contained in the $80,000 study conducted by the Management Science Center of the Wharton School, and prepared by Russell Ackoff and William Abendroth.1 Ackoff, who started out as a math and philosophy professor at Wayne State University, is considered one of the pioneers in operations research — originally designed to solve executive problems in organizations using the application of interdisciplinary techniques, including math, statistics, probability theory, and philosophy.2 Ackoff experienced much success in applying operations research to organizations; however, the results of the work with baseball were, arguably, less impactful. While the reported plan may have had a backbone, the delay in action at the Florida meetings mostly foreshadowed long-term avoidance of change and, in some cases, permanent delay.3
1 “Baseball Submits a Plan to Centralize Authority,” New York Times, December 7, 1969: S1.
2 “Penn Hires 8-Member Research Team,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 7, 1964: 31; “IFORS Operational Research Hall of Fame: Russell Ackoff,” International Transactions in Operational Research, 2005, v12, 129-134.
3 “The Hottest Issue of All,” The Sporting News, March 7, 1970: 4; “Is Kuhn Losing Popularity?” Baltimore Sun, December 4, 1970: 27.