MLB Goes Kuhn Hunting

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(February 4, 1969) Major league baseball owners today named Bowie Kuhn as baseball commissioner.

Bowie Kuhn served as baseball commissioner from 1969-1984.

Bowie Kuhn served as baseball commissioner from 1969-1984.

Kuhn replaced William D. Eckert, who had served as baseball commissioner from 1965 until he was forced to resign at the end of the 1968 season.

Unlike Eckert, who had not personally seen a major league baseball game for more than 10 years when he was appointed commissioner, Kuhn brought to the job of commissioner a deep understanding of the game from an insider’s perspective. Kuhn had served as legal counsel for MLB owners for almost 20 years prior to his election as commissioner.

Kuhn’s tenure was marked by labor strikes (most notably in 1981), owner disenchantment, and the end of baseball’s reserve clause. Yet during Kuhn’s reign as commissioner, the national pastime enjoyed unprecedented attendance gains and lucrative television contracts.