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Ban Johnson
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Sports Executive
    (January 5, 1864-March 28, 1931)
    Born in Norwalk, Ohio
    Birth name was Byron Bancroft Johnson
    Former sports editor of the 'Cincinnati Commercial-Gazette'
    Founder and first president (1901-27) of the American League
    Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (1937)
    He dropped out of law school.
    He ran the AL while also having an ownership stake in the Cleveland and Washington teams.
    When he attempted to prevent the Red Sox from trading pitcher Carl Mays to the Yankees, the Yankees got a court order to allow Mays to play based on Johnson's repeated inability to remain impartial.
    He feuded frequently with Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis.
    Umpire Bill Klem noted, 'Had Ban been just a little less arrogant, he might have saved himself the crushing burden of dealing with the equally arrogant Landis.'
    He suffered a nervous breakdown shortly before resigning as AL President.
    To make baseball more family-friendly, he banned booze, swearing and fighting on the field.
    He took a faltering minor league, the Western League, remade it into the AL and managed it so successfully that the National League was forced to accept it as an equal.
    When he was forced into retirement, he was owed $320,000 on the balance of his contract, but he refused to accept payment for work he had not performed.
    Branch Rickey said, 'His contribution to the game is not closely equaled by any other single person or group of persons.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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