How the Baseball World Came to Notice Judge Landis

From SABR member Brian McKenna at Glimpses Into Baseball History on April 2:

Judge Landis became a national figure due to the important cases he ruled upon – mainly the Standard Oil antitrust case in which he forced John D. Rockefeller to travel to Chicago and appear before him. (He first entered the national arena at age 26 when he was named personal secretary to Secretary of State Walter Q. Gresham in March 1893, after the successful campaign of Grover Cleveland to reclaim the White House.)

The I.W.W. case during WWI also made headlines as Landis sentenced I.W.W. secretary-treasurer Big Bill Haywood and 92 others to prison. Afterwards a bomb was exploded in the Federal Building, but Landis escaped injury. Landis also jailed Congressman Victor Berger for allegedly obstructing the nation’s war preparations.


Landis worked and lived in Chicago, baseball’s #2-city and the hub of some of the crucial events in baseball history. For one, Chicagoan William Hulbert set out and helped created the National League in 1876 to offset the perennial National Association champion Boston club’s hold on the game. Secondly, the Chicago trio of Ban Johnson, Charles Comiskey and Clark Griffith (with Charles Somers) were the driving force behind the American League’s rise in status in 1901. Landis would soon bring the administrative offices of the game to the Windy City.

Read the full article here:

See also this 1893 profile of a young Landis in the Chicago Daily Inter Ocean.

Originally published: April 5, 2011. Last Updated: April 5, 2011.