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Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis

Judge, Major League Baseball commissioner and friend of The American Legion, Kenesaw Mountain Landisreceived the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 1929. Presenting the award, National Commander Paul V. McNutt told Landis, "Since the inception of the Legion, in its legislative program, in its endowment-fund campaign to aid our disabled comrades and orphans of the war and in its Americanism programs, you have responded instantly to every call the Legion has made upon you."

Durign the Civil War, Landis' physician father, a Yankee, lost a leg in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia. So in 1866, he named his newborn son Kenesaw Mountain Landis, tweaking the spelling a bit.

Named a federal judge by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905, Landis oversaw several major trials. He fined Standard Oil $29 million in an antitrust case, and presided over several trials accusing Industrial Workers of the World's union leaders of espionage.

Still on the bench in 1920, he became the first commissioner of Major League Baseball. His first challenge was to restore integrity to the game, which had been tarnished by the "Black Sox Scandal," in which some Chicago White Sox players were accused of conspiring to fix the outcome of the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The players were acquitted, but that didn't keep Landis from barring them from the game.

Nicknamed "Boss," "Czar" and "The Ballplayer's Friend," Landis had to choose between the bench and baseball, so in 1922 he resigned as judge. He remained a firm, albeit controversial, baseball commissioner until his death in 1944, at 78. Later, he was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For more on Landis, click here (http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h2074.html).

 

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