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History

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Bowie Kuhn, the Major League Baseball Commissioner who presided over the dawn of free agency and the end of the reserve system, died Thursday, March 15. He was 80.

Kuhn's 15 years is the second-longest tenure among the nine Commissioners. At 42 years old, he was the youngest man to be elected Commissioner when he replaced Gen. William Eckert on Feb. 4, 1969.   More >

 Career Highlights
Summary of Accomplishments:
• Elected baseball's fifth Commissioner by a unanimous vote of the 24 club owners on February 4, 1969
• His 15 year tenure as Commissioner is second in longevity to Kenesaw Mountain Landis' 23 years
• Presided over a tumultuous time in baseball, including the Curt Flood reserve case of 1970
• In 1976, Kuhn invoked "the best interests of baseball" in blocking the selling of three players by the A's
• During his tenure Major League Baseball grew from 20 to 26 teams and attendance increased from 23 million fans in 1968 to 45.5 million in 1983

"I believe in the Rip Van Winkle Theory: that a man from 1910 must be able to wake up after being asleep for seventy years, walk into a ballpark and understand baseball perfectly."
-- Bowie Kuhn
 
 Sights & Sounds
• MLB.com's Bloom on Bowie Kuhn: 350K
• Bowie Kuhn's 1968 speech: 350K

::: Quick Facts :::

Born: Takoma Park, Maryland
Commissioner: 1969-1984
Education:
Princeton University
University of Virginia