Will Harridge

William Harridge (October 16, 1883 – April 9, 1971) was an American executive in professional baseball whose most significant role was as president of the American League (AL) from 1931 to 1959. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1972.

Will Harridge
Will Harridge 1937
Harridge at the 1937 All Star Game
American League President
1931–1959
Born: October 16, 1883
Chicago, Illinois
Died: April 9, 1971 (aged 87)
Evanston, Illinois
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1972
Election MethodVeterans Committee

Early life and career

Will Harridge was born in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. He worked as a railway ticket clerk before being hired in 1911 as the personal secretary to Ban Johnson, president of baseball's American League.

Baseball career

In 1927, Harridge became the American League secretary. He then became president of the American League in 1931, held that post until his retirement in 1958, and then was named president emeritus. At that point the league office was moved to Boston, and Harridge was allowed to keep the Chicago office as well as act as custodian of the American League archive correspondence.

Harridge faced some criticism for his involvement in allowing Arnold Johnson, a business associate of New York Yankees owners Dan Topping and Del Webb, to purchase the Philadelphia Athletics and move them to Kansas City rather than allow local owners to purchase the team and keep it in Philadelphia. He is also criticized by some for his then "non-involvement" in turning a blind eye to the control that the Yankees had over Johnson and the A's.

Harridge often cited a 1932 incident as his most difficult decision in baseball. During a July 4 game between the New York Yankees and Washington Senators, a collision occurred at home plate involving Senators outfielder Carl Reynolds and Yankees catcher Bill Dickey. Dickey dropped the ball, but chased down Reynolds and punched him, resulting in a broken jaw. Though Dickey was a star player with the most powerful franchise in baseball, Harridge issued him a $1,000 fine and a thirty-day suspension.[1]

He is more widely known for a ruling that he made in 1951 when dwarf Eddie Gaedel signed a contract with Bill Veeck's St. Louis Browns. Gaedel registered one career plate appearance in August of that year, earning a walk on four straight pitches. Harridge decided that Veeck was making a mockery of baseball and he cancelled Gaedel's contract the next day.[1]

Later life

In 1967, Harridge was driving through Wilmette when he struck and killed architect Barry Byrne of Evanston. Harridge was neither ticketed nor charged in the accident.[2]

Harridge died at age 87 in Evanston, Illinois, and is interred in Memorial Park in Skokie, Illinois

Legacy

The American League Championship Series trophy is named the William Harridge Trophy in Harridge's honor.[3]

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Armour, Mark. "SABR Baseball Biography Project: Will Harridge". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  2. ^ http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1967/12/18/page/8/article/barry-byrne-74-architect-killed-by-car
  3. ^ winner.http://fielderschoice.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/overjoyed/ Dave (Tampa Bay Rays fan), "Overjoyed!", Fielder's Choice Baseball Card Blog, April 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-17 (including photo of trophy)

External links

1883 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1883 throughout the world.

1952 Little League World Series

The 1952 Little League World Series was held from August 26 to August 29 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. A team from Norwalk, Connecticut, beat Monongahela, Pennsylvania, by a score of 4–3 in the championship game of the 6th Little League World Series. A team from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, became the first participants from outside the United States in the history of the event.Attendees at the championship game included Frank Shaughnessy, president of the International League, and Will Harridge, president of the American League.

1957 Major League Baseball season

The 1957 Major League Baseball season was played from April 15 to October 10, 1957. The National League's Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants played their final seasons as New York City-based franchises before their moves to California for the 1958 season, leaving New York without a National League team until the birth of the Mets in 1962.

1972 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1972 followed the system established one year earlier.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected three: Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, and Early Wynn.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It also selected three people: Lefty Gomez, Will Harridge, and Ross Youngs.

The Negro Leagues Committee met for the second time and selected Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard.

American League

The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major league status. It is sometimes called the Junior Circuit because it claimed Major League status for the 1901 season, 25 years after the formation of the National League (the "Senior Circuit").

At the end of every season, the American League champion plays in the World Series against the National League champion; two seasons did not end in playing a World Series (1904, when the National League champion New York Giants refused to play their AL counterpart, and 1994, when a players' strike prevented the Series). Through 2018, American League teams have won 66 of the 114 World Series played since 1903, with 27 of those coming from the New York Yankees alone. The New York Yankees have won 40 American League titles, the most in the league's history, followed by the Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics (15) and the Boston Red Sox (14).

Bill Cutler (baseball executive)

William S. Cutler (February 7, 1920 – March 24, 2012) served as the Pacific Coast League president from 1979 to 1997. He was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame in 2005. He was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan.Prior to serving as president of the PCL, Cutler worked as an administrative assistant to Will Harridge. (In the famous video of Willie Mays' catch of Vic Wertz's fly ball in the 1954 World Series which then cuts back to fans in the stands, Cutler is seated next to the man who puts his hand to his forehead in disbelief.) He then worked as an assistant general manager and vice-president to Charlie Finley, although mostly in name only. After that, he worked as a scout for the Montreal Expos, and he eventually became owner of the Portland Beavers. He moved the team to Spokane, Washington in 1973.

Cutler is related to former minor leaguers Charles Bordes and Brett Bordes and former big leaguer Jack Heidemann.

He died on March 24, 2012 in Mesa, Arizona.

George Moriarty

George Joseph Moriarty (July 7, 1884 – April 8, 1964) was an American third baseman, umpire and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1903 to 1940. He played for the Chicago Cubs, New York Highlanders, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago White Sox from 1903 to 1916.

Harry Agganis

Aristotle George "Harry" Agganis (Greek: Αριστοτέλης Γεώργιος Αγγάνης) (April 20, 1929 – June 27, 1955), nicknamed "The Golden Greek", was an American first baseman and college football star who played two seasons with the Boston Red Sox of the American League (1954–1955), after passing up a potential professional football career.

Born in Lynn, Massachusetts to Greek immigrants, Georgios Agganis and Georgia Papalimperis, Agganis first gained notice as a college football player at Boston University, becoming the first person in school history to be named All-American. He passed a professional career with the Cleveland Browns in order to play his favorite sport, baseball, close to his hometown. Agganis was signed to a bonus baby contract, and after one season playing minor league baseball, Agganis became the starter at first base for the Red Sox.

In 1955, Agganis became gravely ill early in the season and was hospitalized for two weeks for pneumonia. He rejoined the Red Sox for one week before being rehospitalized with a viral infection. After showing some signs of recovery, Agganis died of a pulmonary embolism on June 27. Agganis' sudden death is considered one of the greatest tragedies to hit Boston's sporting community.

History of the St. Louis Browns

The St. Louis Browns were a Major League Baseball team that originated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the Milwaukee Brewers. Charter member of the American League, the Brewers moved to St. Louis, Missouri, after the 1901 season, where they played for 52 years as the St. Louis Browns. This article covers the franchise's time in St. Louis.

After the 1953 season, the team relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, where it became the Baltimore Orioles. As of May 2019, there are only 10 living former St. Louis Browns players.

Hyde Park Academy High School

Hyde Park Academy High School (formerly known as Hyde Park High School and Hyde Park Career Academy) is a public 4–year high school located in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Opened in 1863, Hyde Park is located in the Woodlawn neighborhood south of the University of Chicago. Hyde Park is operated by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district. In 2012, Hyde Park became the fourth Chicago public high school to become an International Baccalaureate school.

Jackie Autry

Jackie Autry is the former owner of the Los Angeles Angels and widow of Gene Autry, actor, singer and businessman.

Jim Duffy (umpire)

James Francis Duffy (August 9, 1920 – November 29, 2003) was an American professional baseball umpire and a professional basketball referee. He worked in the American League from 1951 to 1953. Duffy umpired 448 major league games in his three-year career.In 1954, Duffy was sent from Major League Baseball to the International League. He retired from baseball in early 1955, when he found out that he would not be brought back up to the major league level. Upon his retirement, Duffy publicly asserted that his demotion had resulted simply from pressure applied to league president Will Harridge by officials from the Red Sox and White Sox. Harridge responded that those allegations were "utterly ridiculous and completely untrue." Harridge said that Duffy "did not measure up to the standards of the American League."Duffy also spent several seasons as an NBA referee. He worked as an auto salesman in the offseason.

Leslie O'Connor

Leslie M. O'Connor (August 31, 1889 – January 20, 1966) was an American lawyer and professional baseball executive. He was the assistant to the Commissioner of Baseball from January 1921 until the death of Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis on November 25, 1944; then he filled the void as acting commissioner (technically, as chairman of the Major League Advisory Council) until the election of Happy Chandler as Landis' successor on April 24, 1945. After spending another six months in the commissioner's office as Chandler's top assistant, O'Connor became general manager of the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball from November 1945 through November 1948, and he later served as president of the Pacific Coast League.Born in Chicago, Illinois, O'Connor was admitted to the bar and served in World War I as a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps. When Landis was appointed Commissioner in the wake of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, O'Connor became his top administrator for 24 seasons until Landis' sudden death in 1944. As Landis' right-hand man, he was involved in investigations, writing Landis' decisions and keeping records. After five months as acting commissioner—head of the three-man council that included league presidents Ford Frick and Will Harridge—during the waning months of World War II, O'Connor stepped aside for Chandler and was his top aide during the transition until after the 1945 baseball season.He then was named general manager of the White Sox by team owner Grace Comiskey and held that post for three losing campaigns. After the White Sox lost 101 games and finished last in the eight-team American League in 1948, O'Connor stepped down and was succeeded by Frank Lane. The team won 195 games and lost 262 (.427) during O'Connor's tenure as GM.

He remained in baseball, however, as a member of the Major-Minor League Executive Council, and then as legal counsel for and president of the top-level Pacific Coast League. As PCL president from 1956 through 1959, he was in office during the tumultuous shift of the Dodgers and Giants from New York City to Los Angeles and San Francisco, which resulted in a significant alteration of the PCL map. During O'Connor's four-year term, the league replaced four teams located in the metro areas of those cities with clubs in Vancouver (Oakland Oaks), Salt Lake City (Hollywood Stars), Phoenix (San Francisco Seals) and Spokane (Los Angeles Angels).

O'Connor died in Tokyo at the age of 76.

List of American League pennant winners

Each season, one American League (AL) team wins the pennant, signifying that they are the league's champion and have the right to play in the World Series against the champion of the National League. The pennant was presented to the team with the best win–loss record each year through the 1968 season, after which the American League Championship Series (ALCS) was introduced to decide the pennant winner. The first modern World Series was played in 1903 and, after a hiatus in 1904, has taken place every season except 1994, when a players' strike forced the cancellation of the postseason. The current American League pennant holders are the Boston Red Sox who won in October 2018.

In 1969, the league split into two divisions, and the teams with the best records in each division played one another in the five-game ALCS to determine the pennant winner, who received (and continues to receive) the William Harridge Trophy. The trophy featured a golden eagle, the league's emblem, sitting atop a silver baseball and clutching the American League banner. Since 2017, the trophy is all silver with a pennant on top. The trophy is named for Will Harridge, who was league president from 1931 to 1958. The format of the ALCS was changed from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven format in the 1985 postseason. In 1995, an additional playoff series was added when Major League Baseball restructured into three divisions in each league. As of 2010, the winners of the Eastern, Central, and Western Divisions, as well as the AL Wild Card winner, play in the American League Division Series, a best-of-five playoff to determine the opponents who will play in the ALCS. American League pennant winners have gone on to win the World Series 66 times, most recently in 2018.

The New York Yankees have won 40 AL pennants, winning their first in 1921 and their most recent in 2009. This total is more than twice that of the next-closest team, the Oakland Athletics, who have won 15. They are followed by the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers, with 14 and 11 pennants won respectively. The Yankees have the most pennants since the introduction of the ALCS in 1969 with 11, followed by the Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles with 6 and 5 respectively. The Yankees also hold the record for most wins by a pennant-winning team, with their 1998 team winning 114 out of 162 games, finishing 22 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox. The 1954 Cleveland Indians won the most games of any pennant winner under the pre-1969 system, winning 111 out of their 154 games and finishing eight games ahead of the Yankees. The Milwaukee Brewers won the American League pennant in 1982 but later moved to the National League starting in the 1998 season.The only American League team to have never won a pennant is the Seattle Mariners.

List of American League presidents

The American League President was the chief executive of the American League of professional baseball until 1999, when the AL and National League merged into Major League Baseball.

Lou Kolls

Louis Charles "Lou" Kolls (December 15, 1892 – February 23, 1941) was an American professional baseball umpire who worked in the American League from 1933 to 1940. Kolls umpired in one All-Star Game and one World Series. Kolls was released by the American League a few months before his untimely death. He also played in the National Football League.

Pants Rowland

Clarence Henry "Pants" Rowland (February 12, 1878 – May 17, 1969) was a Major League Baseball manager for the Chicago White Sox from 1915 through 1918 who went on to become a major figure in minor league baseball. He was born in Platteville, Wisconsin. In his varied career that spanned parts of six decades, he was a catcher, scout, major league umpire, minor and major league manager, and a boisterous baseball executive.

Scotty Robb

Douglas Walker "Scotty" Robb (September 23, 1908 – April 10, 1969) was a professional baseball umpire who worked for in the National League from 1947 to 1952, and the American League in 1952 and 1953.

In 1936, Robb was initially a student in the George Barr Umpire School held at Whittington Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas and operated by Major League Umpire George Barr.On August 29, 1947, Robb joined the National League. Robb was an umpire in the 1950 and 1951 Major League Baseball All-Star Games. In his career, he umpired 869 Major League games. He was the home plate umpire for Virgil Trucks no-hitter on August 25, 1952.In 1952, Robb was fined and suspended by National League President Warren Giles for an April 22 incident with player Solly Hemus. Robb paid the fine then resigned. Two days later he was offered a job by American League President Will Harridge, which he accepted. Robb, therefore, became one of the few umpires to work in both leagues. On June 28, 1953, Robb retired to work in his printing business.

Tom Connolly

Thomas Henry Connolly (December 31, 1870 – April 28, 1961) was an English-American umpire in Major League Baseball. He officiated in the National League from 1898 to 1900, followed by 31 years of service in the American League from 1901 to 1931. In over half a century as an American League umpire and supervisor, he established the high standards for which the circuit's arbiters became known, and solidified the reputation for integrity of umpires in the major leagues.

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