Creation of the office of the Commissioner of Baseball
Persisting rumors of the Chicago White Sox throwing the previous year's World Series to the Cincinnati Reds and another game during the 1920 season led to the game's brass looking for ways of dealing with the problems of gambling within the sport. At the time, MLB was governed by a three-man National Commission composed of American League President Ban Johnson, National League President John Heydler and Cincinnati RedsownerGarry Herrmann. At the request of the other owners, Herrmann left the office reducing the Commission to be deadlocked by two. With the owners disliking one or both presidents, calls began for stronger leadership, although they opined they could support the continuation of the leagues' presidencies with a well-qualified Commissioner.
A plan that began to circulate and gain support was dubbed the "Lasker Plan," after Albert Lasker, a shareholder of the Chicago Cubs, called for a three-man commission with no financial interest in baseball. With the Black Sox scandal exposed on September 30, 1920, Heydler began calling for the Lasker Plan. All eight NL teams supported the plan, along with three AL teams. The three AL teams were the White Sox, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The teams in support of the Lasker Plan wanted federal judgeKenesaw Mountain Landis to take the office of Baseball Commissioner. Johnson, who opposed the plan and thus, the appointment of Landis, had allies the other five AL clubs, and attempted to get Minor League Baseball to side with him. However, the minor leagues would not, and when the AL teams learned their position, they relented and instead went along with the Lasker Plan. The owners agreed that they needed a person with near-unlimited authority and a powerful person to fill the position of commissioner.
The owners approached Landis, and although reluctant at first, accepted the position as the first Commissioner of Baseball. He drafted the agreement which gave him almost unlimited authority throughout the major and minor leagues – every owner on down to the batboys was accountable to the Commissioner – including barring owners from dismissing him, speaking critically of him in public or challenging him in court. He also kept his job as a federal judge. Of course, a near autocratic leader was probably what was needed for baseball at the time as the Black Sox scandal had placed the public's trust in baseball on shaky ground as the owners accepted the terms of the agreement with a scant trace of opposition, if any.
Effect of the Black Sox scandal on the AL pennant race