On November 8, 1934 — Ford Frick, National League publicity director, is named league president. He will eventually become Commissioner.
Some of Frick’s highlights as the NL President
In June 1937, Cardinals pitcher Dizzy Dean began to publicly criticize the NL and Frick. In response, Frick said that he was suspending Dean until the pitcher issued a written apology. Dean indicated that he would not apologize and that he would boycott the 1937 All-Star Game, suspended or not. The Cardinals made peace with Frick so that Dean could return to play. He appeared in the All-Star Game, but he sustained a toe injury in the game. The injury altered his delivery and he later injured his arm, never returning to All-Star form.
An American Communist Party newspaper known as the Daily Worker asked Frick in 1937 about the feasibility of racially integrating baseball. Frick said that there was no rule discriminating against players on the basis of race. He said that professional baseball required ability, good habits and strong character. Disingenuously, he asserted that he was not aware of a case in which race had played a role in the selection of a major league player.
In the late 1930s, Frick played a central role in establishing the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. He gathered a team of representatives from the major news wire services, including Davis Walsh of the International News Service, Alan J. Gould of the Associated Press, and Henry L. Farrell of United Press International. They took the idea to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and that organization became the voting body for Hall of Fame elections.
Later, during his tenure as NL 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. While president of the NL, Frick served on DePauw University’s board of trustees. He was also president of the school’s alumni association, helping to create the DePauw Alumni Fund.
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