Ryczek: The Roaring Twenties: Baseball in the 1920s

From SABR member Bill Ryczek at The National Pastime Museum on January 5, 2017:

Baseball seemed to prosper in alternate decades, and thus it was due for a boom during the 1920s. The pattern was not coincidental, for the health of baseball was heavily dependent on the state of the U.S. economy, and the 1920s were very good years for American business.

The decade began unpromisingly, as the Black Sox scandal was uncovered just before the end of the 1920 season and the trial took place the following summer. In the wake of the scandal, in November 1920, the owners hired Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as baseball’s first commissioner. The Black Sox episode, the war, and flat attendance had scared them, and they realized that the three-man National Commission, which had been baseball’s ultimate authority since 1903, was too burdened by the self-interest of its members to lead the sport out of the wilderness. They wanted a strong man, and Landis, although physically slight, appeared to be that man.

Landis was not new to baseball, having presided over the antitrust suit brought by the Federal League in January 1915. During the trial, Landis expressed his admiration for the game of baseball and, by declining to issue a decision, effectively put an end to the third Major League, for the longer they had to wait for help, the more money they lost. It’s said that “justice delayed is justice denied” and that is what Landis did to the Federal League, which ingratiated him with American and National League owners.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/roaring-twenties

Originally published: January 5, 2017. Last Updated: January 5, 2017.