Miller Park has an interactive deal called "The Selig Experience," so I thought I'd take a look at baseball commissioners. This is all from Wiki, since I don't find these guys worth independent research, but there's still a little factoid or two you might enjoy. OR NOT
Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1920-1945, died while holding job)
Looks like: An old(er), spooky(er) Dustin Hoffman
"Life" before baseball: Lawyer, government official, and, duh, judge.
Major benefit to game: Hired to crack skulls after 1919 "Black Sox" scandal (where players underpaid by Sox owner Charles Comiskey threw the World Series to get money from mob gamblers.)
Major harm: Landis's ban of players in the scandal included one likely innocent, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. The ban discouraged future players from taking mob gambler money but did nothing to increase player salaries. According to Bill Veeck, Landis stopped Veeck from integrating an entire team in 1942. This may not be true; however, it's the source for a fun "what if" novel, Peter Schilling's "The End Of Baseball." (Thanks DJL44 for reccing that book!)
Odd thing about him: Landis's curious name comes from his dad's being injured during the Civil War battle at Kenesaw Mountain in Georgia; Dad was on the good side.
A.B. "Happy" Chandler (1945-1951)
Looks like: What you'd expect a guy nicknamed "Happy" to look like, a gangster.
"Life" before baseball: Incurable political junkie. Was governor of Kentucky and Senator from same. Had some sane policies, many utterly crazy ones, lived for vendettas and smoky back-room deals.
Major benefit to game: Didn't get in the way of integration. Told off Phillies manager Ben Chapman for hurling racist slurs at Robinson (the most memorable scene in "42" was when lovable "Firefly" actor Alan Tudyk recreated those horrific slurs.)
Major harm: Instilled five-year ban on any player who even thought about taking a year off to work in an independent league for more money. Never go against The Family.
Odd things about him: Utterly sure he was destined to become US president, even though this never had the remotest chance of happening. Attended Transylvania College (it's in Kentucky, perhaps near Dr. Frank N. Furter's castle.)
Ford Frick (1951-1965)
Looks like: The dad in every '50s sitcom who's smoking a pipe and somehow convincing his gorgeous 20-years-younger wife to fetch him a martini
"Life" before baseball: English teacher, newspaperman, broadcaster.
Major benefit to game: As NL president (before becoming commissioner), came down hard on players who threatened to protest Jackie Robinson's inclusion. Encouraged expansion teams. Helped establish Hall of Fame. Eliminated fan voting for the All-Star Game (this, sadly, didn't last.)
Major harm: Was in charge when baseball went from 154 to 162 games. Wiki says this was necessary because of expansion. OK. It kinda sucks that the Dodgers were stolen from Brooklyn but I'm not sure a commissioner could have done much to stop it.
Odd thing about him: The Ford C. Frick Award is given to broadcasters, even though Frick was just barely a broadcaster. It's a nice award, though. Herb Carneal got one.
William Eckert (1965-1968)
Looks like: A really unfunny Steve Martin
"Life" before baseball: West Point, 30-year military officer, guy you put on the boards of corporations to stare down anyone with new ideas until they cower into tears.
Major benefit to game: Promoting the sport overseas with goodwill tours.
Major harm: Didn't postpone games after MLK and RFK were killed. Oversaw birth of the first giant multipurpose stadiums.
Odd things about him: Died playing tennis. Didn't watch baseball much.
Bowie Kuhn (1969-1984)
Looks like: Your uncle who announces his farts during family dinners
"Life" before baseball: Small-time lawyer, helped NL when Milwaukee sued to keep the Braves from leaving for Atlanta. (Milwaukee lost.)
Major benefit to game: Almost banned PEDs, wimped out. Almost helped Negro League players get into the HOF, wimped out.
Major harm: Stood against Curt Flood challenging the "reserve clause" (basically, a rule that said players had to take whatever contracts their teams offered or quit MLB.) Didn't attend game where Hank Aaron broke Ruth's record. Went apeshit on players who wrote inside-baseball books (Jim Bouton), went apeshit on players who used recreational drugs, had personal beefs with less-powerful owners, sucked up to the powerful ones. Essentially the spiritual grandparent of Selig.
Odd thing about him: Royals catcher Darrell Porter, addicted to every substance imaginable, thought Kuhn was going to come bust him at his house. He'd stay up at night watching for Kuhn, "clutching billiard balls and a shotgun."
Peter Uberrroth (1984-1989)
Looks like: An Enron executive
"Life" before baseball: CEO of travel agency, organizer of 1984 Los Angeles Olympics that sent America into a mega-patriotic orgasm for no good reason.
Major benefit to game: Got Wille Mays and Mickey Mantle back into MLB's good graces after they'd been banned by Kuhn for getting jobs at casinos.
Major harm: Helped owners collude to keep player salaries down. Vigorously supported testing players for recreational drug use, ignored PEDs.
Odd thing about him: Was hired for something called the "Rebuild Los Angeles Project" after LA's 1991 riots. This fixed LA's racial/economic inequalities forever: thanks, Ubes-y!
A. Bartlett Giamatti (1989; died while holding job)
Looks like: That guy from "Sideways" with more beard
"Life" before baseball: Scholar, president of Yale. Argued that the Renaissance was overrated and Middle Ages underrated (a view shared by scholar/ex-Monty Python Terry Jones.)
Major benefit to game: Banned Pete Rose.
Major harm: Gave Pete Rose something to publicly bitch about for 25 years & counting.
Odd thing about him: Father of brilliant film actor Paul Giamatti. For this alone, the world is eternally grateful.
Fay Vincent (1989-1992)
Looks like: Muppet Dr. Bunson Honeydew
"Life" before baseball: Lawyer, business guy, movie studio head.
Major benefit to game: Moderated resolution of 1990 lockout. Hated by Carl Pohlad and Selig. Banned George Steinbrenner after Steinbrenner paid some crook to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield.
Major harm: It was a sham ban so Steinbrenner could get money/get paid by the 1992 Olympic committee without any "conflict of interest"; absolute BS.
Odd things about him: Survived a four-story fall in college that left him temporarily paralyzed with spine damage. Was actually a good athlete.
Bud Selig (1992-2015)
Looks like: Bill Gates and Donald Trump's hair evolved into a semi-sentient life form
"Life" before baseball: Car leasing business, whatever the hell that is. Brewers owner.
Major benefit to game: Interleague play, wild-card.
Major harm: My least favorite is the wild-card playoff. No doubt each of you will have your own special Selig hate.
Odd thing about him: While Selig teaches courses in sports law at Marquette (including the subject of why MLB doesn't like fan video on YouTube), he's not a lawyer. His degree fields are American history and political science -- which are my two degree fields. Maybe I should get into car leasing.
Rob Manfred (present)
Looks like: The charmingly folksy gap-tooth in his grin makes a whistling sound while sucking up souls
"Life" before baseball: Labor lawyer, guess on which side?
Odd thing about him: His daughter married the son of some United Health bigwig. United Health, of course, is a Minnetonka company whose ex-CEO (a total sleazebag) owns the local soccer team. All roads lead to Minnesota.
Pitching today goeth Kyle Gibson and Matt Garza, both of whom try hard. We saw Garza three weeks ago, you can survey his numerals back there or on mysterious, hard-to-find Deep Web sites. However I like to use a chart so people can quickly spot where the long intro ends. Accordingly, chart:
|If By Now||You Don't Know||What Sort Of||Pitchers||Gibson/Garza||Are|
FWIW, nobody for Milwaukee has faced Gibson more than six times (Garza's 0-2!) Matt Lucroy and Glen Perkins have a little somethin-somethin going on; they both make their own beer! So, while they play for different teams, they are, in a sense, twin brewers.
Lineups (because we'd all rather see Escobar in the outfield than Santana, apparently):
|Mary Tyler Moore||Laverne & Shirley|
|Brian Dozier, 2B||Gerardo Parra, RF|
|Eddie Rosario, CF||Beermaking Lucroy, C|
|Joe Mauer, C||Go-Go-Gadget, CF|
|Plouuufffe, 3B||Adam Lind, 1B|
|Torii Hunter, RF||Aramis Ramirez, 3B|
|Chris Herrmann, C||Shane Peterson, LF|
|Eduardo Escobar, LF||Jean Segura, SS|
|Kyle Gibson, P||Scooter Gennett, 2B|
|Danny Santana, SS||Matt Garza, P|