Inside Pitch

Feb. 6, 1934: Frick Transitions to Baseball Executive

 

BY nick anapolis
feb. 4, 2013

Ford Frick was uncompromisingly devoted to baseball. During his 17-year tenure as the head of the National League, he obtained support for the establishment of the Hall of Fame and later became commissioner of baseball. (NBHOF Library)

Seventy-nine years ago this week, Ford Frick began a career that was the start of an everlasting impact on the game of baseball. 
 
On Feb. 6, 1934, Frick was named public relations director of the National League after a distinguished career in media, specifically as a ghostwriter for future Hall of Famer Babe Ruth and as a sportscaster. Mere months after joining the NL, Frick became the league president, replacing John Heydler.
 
Wasting no time as league president, Frick and Stephen Clark of Cooperstown led a movement in 1935 pushing the creation the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 
 
Three years after the inaugural class of 1936, Frick’s dream became a reality as the Baseball Hall of Fame was established on June 12, 1939 in Cooperstown.
 
“It was one of the greatest things that happened to baseball.” said Frick.
 
Frick was an immense believer that the Hall of Fame should be very exclusive and that the rules and regulations must be accepted which will make them so. Today his wish still holds true, as being named to the Baseball Hall of Fame is arguably one of the toughest and greatest accomplishments in all of sports. 
 
On Sept. 20, 1951 Frick was elected as the commissioner of baseball, becoming the third in history, succeeding eventual Hall of Famer Happy Chandler.
 
During his time as commissioner, Frick was in charge of numerous positive changes to the game of baseball, one being the expansion from eight to 10 teams in both the American and National leagues. He was also a major supporter of Jackie Robinson, as his role as NL president was vital to Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball.
 
In December of 1965, Ford Frick retired at the end of two seven-year terms as commissioner. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1970 by the Veterans Committee.
 
On April 8, 1978, Ford Frick passed away at 83 in Bronxville, N.Y. Later that year, the Ford C. Frick Award was established in his honor. Today the award is presented annually by the Hall of Fame to a broadcaster for “major contributions to baseball.” 
 
“Remember, other areas of baseball may have good years and bad,” said Frick. “but Cooperstown goes on boosting the game year after year, without fail or interruption.”
 
Nick Anapolis is the spring 2013 public relations intern at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

 

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