25 Facts About Ban Johnson


Byron Bancroft Johnson was an American executive in professional baseball who served as the founder and first president of the American League.


Ban Johnson dominated the AL until the mid-1920s, when a public dispute with baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis culminated in his forced resignation as league president.


Ban Johnson subsequently became the sports editor of a newspaper in Cincinnati.


At the urging of Comiskey and Reds owner John T Brush, Johnson was elected as president of the Western League, a faltering minor league, at a reorganization meeting held in 1894.


Ban Johnson had criticized the National League for its rowdy atmosphere, which was driving away families and women.


Ban Johnson set about making baseball more friendly to both.


Contrary to the practice of the time, Ban Johnson gave his umpires unqualified support and had little tolerance for players or managers who failed to show them due respect.


Ban Johnson fined and suspended players who used foul language on the field.


Ban Johnson got his chance after the 1899 season, when the National League dropped teams in Baltimore, Cleveland, Louisville and Washington, DC Johnson moved the Grand Rapids franchise to Cleveland, where they would eventually become the Indians.


Ban Johnson had Comiskey move his Saint Paul team to Chicago, where they eventually became the White Sox.


The 1900 season was an unequivocal success, and Ban Johnson received a 10-year contract extension.


Ban Johnson then placed teams in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.


Ban Johnson had a large stake in the Washington franchise, which he kept until 1903.


Ban Johnson did not tolerate criticism, and made it very difficult for men he didn't like to buy into the league.


For instance, when Harry Frazee bought the Boston Red Sox in 1917, Ban Johnson tried almost from the start to drive him out because Frazee had not been hand-picked by Ban Johnson.


At one point, Ban Johnson even had ownership interests in the Cleveland and Washington teams.


The final nail in Ban Johnson's coffin proved to be the Black Sox Scandal.


Ban Johnson publicly criticized Landis for his handling of the affair, and Landis threatened to resign if the AL owners didn't rein Johnson in.


Ban Johnson remained on good behavior for two years, even getting an extension of his contract to 1935 and a raise to $40,000.


However, in 1926, Ban Johnson criticized Landis for granting Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker an amnesty after evidence surfaced that they had fixed a game in 1919.


Ban Johnson tried to return in the spring and acted as if nothing had changed.


However, the situation had become untenable, and Ban Johnson was forced to resign at the end of the season.


Ban Johnson died on March 28,1931, at age 67, in St Louis, Missouri, just a few hours after his successor, Ernest Barnard.


Ban Johnson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937 as one of its charter members.


Ban Johnson was laid to rest at Riverside Cemetery in Spencer, Indiana.