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 Kenesaw Mountain Landis

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Kenesaw Mountain Landis

Hall of Fame Major League Baseball Commissioner, U.S. Federal District Judge. Born in Millville, Ohio, he was given his unusual name from his father, Dr. Abraham Landis, who was severely wounded during the Civil War at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. A high school dropout, he was a bicycle racer at various Indiana fairgrounds and operated a roller skating rink before he ventured into journalism. He covered several court cases for the Logansport Journal and decided that he would become a lawyer. He studied law in Cincinnati, Ohio and later graduated from the Chicago Union Law School in 1891. He was admitted to the bar and practiced in Chicago and Colorado before accepting an appointment in Washington D.C. as secretary to the Secretary of State during President Grover Cleveland's second administration. In 1905, he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as United States District Judge for Northern Illinois. Landis presided over several noteworthy cases and made shocking decisions in a strict manner against famous figures. He levied a $29 million fine against Standard Oil in 1907 and made decisions against several union bosses and politicians as well as boxing champion, Jack Johnson. In November, 1920, Landis was appointed to become Major League Baseball's first commissioner and accepted the position only as sole commissioner with absolute rule for life. The baseball owners who developed a new commission during the scandalous era in an effort to clean up the game's integrity after the "Black Sox" were acquitted in court accepted Landis' terms. Landis resigned as a Federal Judge in February, 1922, to concentrate on his new tasks and position. He made several decisions to end corruption in baseball and earned a reputation that demanded respect and fear in much the same manner as when he was as a Judge. He is best remembered for banning eight players involved with the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. During his tenure as Commissioner, he banished several others for corrupt allegiances including players, coaches, and an owner. Landis also made decisions that opposed allowing women to participate in the game and is blamed for prolonging segregation. The color barrier was finally toppled soon after his death. Landis died in Chicago after a long period of sickness in 1944. He was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in December, 1944. Two of his brothers, Charles Landis and Frederick Landis, were U.S. Congressman from Indiana.

Bio by: K Guy


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 600
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Kenesaw Mountain Landis (20 Nov 1866–25 Nov 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 600, citing Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .