On January 17 1922 — Benny Kauff’s suit for an injunction to restrain the decision to keep him out of baseball is rejected by the appellate court. The former Giant outfielder believed his banishment from the game by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis is unjust, due to his acquittal of the auto theft charges brought against him in 1921.
Commissioner Landis stated, “That acquittal was one of the worst miscarriages of justice that ever came under my observation.”
Kauff was slated to return to the Giants in 1921, but Baseball Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis suspended Kauff until his auto theft case was resolved. The case finally went to trial on May 10, 1921. Kauff argued that he had not only been deceived by his employees but also presented evidence that showed he had been eating dinner with his wife at the time the car was stolen. The jury acquitted Kauff on May 13 after deliberating for less than an hour.
Nonetheless, Landis refused to reinstate him. In a letter to Kauff, Landis said that even though he was acquitted, the trial revealed serious questions about his character and reputation that would raise questions about baseball’s integrity if he were ever allowed to play again. He also told baseball writer Fred Lieb that he personally believed Kauff was guilty and claimed his acquittal “smelled to high heaven” and was “one of the worst miscarriages of justice that ever came under my observation.” According to Kauff’s attorney, Emil Fuchs (who would go on to own the Boston Braves), another factor in Landis’ refusal to reinstate Kauff was that Kauff tried to compensate Engel for the purchase price of the car after finding out it was stolen—something which Kauff had done on Fuchs’ advice. Kauff appealed his banishment in court on the basis of his acquittal, but to no avail.
On January 17, 1922, he lost his appeal to a higher court. In his ruling, Justice E. G. Whitaker did agree that “an apparent injustice has been done the plaintiff.”
Even though banned from playing, he served as a baseball scout for 22 years.