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Kenesaw Mountain Landis facts for kids

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Kenesaw Mountain Landis
Kenesaw Mountain Landis (ca. 1922).jpg
1st Commissioner of Baseball
In office
November 12, 1920 – November 25, 1944
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Happy Chandler
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
In office
March 18, 1905 – February 28, 1922
Appointed by Theodore Roosevelt
Preceded by Seat established by 33 Stat. 992
Succeeded by James Herbert Wilkerson
Personal details
Kenesaw Mountain Landis

(1866-11-20)November 20, 1866
Millville, Ohio, U.S.
Died November 25, 1944(1944-11-25) (aged 78)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Resting place Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago
Spouse(s) Winifred Reed (1895–1944)
Children 3, including Reed
Relatives Charles Beary Landis (brother)
Frederick Landis (brother)
Education Union College of Law
read law
  • "The Judge"
  • "The Squire"

Baseball career
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction 1944
Election Method Old Timers’ Committee

Kenesaw Mountain Landis ( November 20, 1866 – November 25, 1944) was an American jurist who served as a United States federal judge from 1905 to 1922 and the first Commissioner of Baseball from 1920 until his death. He is remembered for his handling of the Black Sox scandal, in which he expelled eight members of the Chicago White Sox from organized baseball for conspiring to lose the 1919 World Series and repeatedly refused their reinstatement requests. His firm actions and iron rule over baseball in the near quarter-century of his commissionership are generally credited with restoring public confidence in the game.

Born in Millville, Ohio, Landis' given name was a spelling variation of the site of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, a major battle of the American Civil War in which his father had been wounded. Raised in Indiana, he became a lawyer, and then personal secretary to Walter Q. Gresham, the new United States Secretary of State, in 1893. He returned to private practice after Gresham died in office.

President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Landis as a judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 1905. Landis received national attention in 1907 when he fined Standard Oil of Indiana more than $29 million (approximately $800 million in 2021) for violating federal laws forbidding rebates on railroad freight tariffs. Though Landis was reversed on appeal, he was seen as a judge determined to rein in big business. During and after World War I, Landis presided over several high-profile trials of draft resisters and others whom he saw as opposing the war effort. He imposed heavy sentences on those who were convicted; some of the convictions were reversed on appeal, and other sentences were commuted.

In 1920, Landis was a leading candidate when American League and National League team owners, embarrassed by the Black Sox scandal and other instances of players throwing games, sought someone to rule over baseball. Landis was given full power to act in the sport's best interest, and used that power extensively over the next quarter-century. Landis was widely praised for cleaning up the game, although some of his decisions in the Black Sox matter remain controversial: supporters of "Shoeless Joe" Jackson and Buck Weaver contend that he was overly harsh with those players. Others blame Landis for, in their view, delaying the racial integration of baseball. Landis was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by a special vote shortly after he died in 1944.

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