|Ford Frick at the 1937 All Star Game|
|3rd Commissioner of Baseball|
September 20, 1951 – November 16, 1965
|Preceded by||A. B. Chandler|
|Succeeded by||William Eckert|
|Born||Ford Christopher Frick
December 19, 1894
|Died||April 8, 1978
Bronxville, New York
|Alma mater||DePauw University|
Ford Christopher Frick (December 19, 1894 – April 8, 1978) was an American sportswriter and executive who served as president of the National League from 1934 to 1951 and as the third Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1951 to 1965. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1970. Besides Frick's election to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1970, the Hall created the Ford C. Frick Award in 1978, and presents the award annually to a baseball broadcaster for major contributions to the game.
Frick attended DePauw University in Indiana, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He had begun his career as a midwestern sportswriter and had moved to New York City to work with William Randolph Hearst's newspapers. Later he pioneered the daily radio sports report, broadcasting sports scores and news. In 1934, he became the National League's public relations director, and then became president of the league later that year.
National League President and Baseball Commissioner
In the late 1930s, Frick played a central role in establishing the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Later, during his tenure as National League president, when several members of the St. Louis Cardinals planned to protest Jackie Robinson's breaking of baseball's color barrier, Frick threatened any players involved with suspension. In 1951, he succeeded Happy Chandler as commissioner of baseball. Frick's critics accused him of favoring the NL in his rulings, such as how the 1960s expansion teams would be stocked.
In 1957 during his tenure as commissioner, Frick addressed an organized campaign of ballot stuffing for that year's All-Star Game in which most of the ballots originated from Cincinnati and had stacked the National League team with Reds. In response, Frick overruled the fan vote, removed two Reds from the starting lineup and appointed two replacements from other teams, and then took the vote away from the fans and kept it that way for the remainder of his tenure.
Frick presided over the expansion of the American and National Leagues from eight to ten teams. Faced with a Congress threatening to revoke baseball's anti-trust exemption, Frick had initially favored the development of a third major league within organized baseball, but relented when the established league owners objected and pursued their own expansion plans. Following expansion, the regular season was extended to 162 games from 154 in order to maintain a balanced schedule.
Frick's most highly criticized decision as commissioner was to convince baseball record-keepers to list the single-season home run records of Babe Ruth and Roger Maris separately in 1961, based on the length of the season played. Later, it was revealed that Frick had served as a ghostwriter for Ruth earlier in his career. In 1991, the "asterisk" was struck from the record book, as Frick had no real authority over how the records were presented. Maris' record was officially recognized thereafter until broken by Mark McGwire in 1998.
Frick has an award named after him given to recognized broadcasters in the MLB.
|Commissioner of Baseball
1951 – 1965