New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Ford Frick

Ford Frick (Baseball.  Born, Wawaka, IN., Dec. 19, 1894; Bronxville, NY, Apr. 8, 1978.)  Although his impact on the events was minimal, Ford Christopher Frick left baseball dramatically different than he found it after 14 years as Commissioner.  A graduate of Indiana’s DePauw University, and a former schoolteacher in Colorado, Frick came to New York in 1922 to become a sportswriter.  He worked for the New York American and the Evening Journal and was a part-time sportscaster at WOR.  In Feb. 1934, Frick became director of the National League Service Bureau, the league’s publicity arm.  When John A. Heydler retired, Frick was elected N.L. president Dec. 11, 1934, and took office the following month.  The turmoil created by Commissioner A.B. (Happy) Chandler’s unsuccessful effort to gain a contract extension led to Chandler’s resignation effective July 15, 1951.  At a lengthy meeting in Chicago, Frick was elected commissioner after 16 ballots.  (His major challenger, Warren Giles, soon replaced Frick as N.L. president.)  Frick officially became Commissioner Oct. 8 when he resigned the N.L. presidency.  Frick’s election brought the Commissioner’s office to New York, where it has remained.  The major mark of his term (which lasted until 1965) was the so-called “Maris Asterisk” ruling, which did not actually require an asterisk.  He ruled that Roger Maris’ record 61 home runs in 1961 would be listed separately from Babe Ruth’s 60 in 1927 because Maris’ achievement came in a 162-game season instead of the 154-game schedule in use in 1927.  The ruling was, of course, largely ignored.  What could not be were the five franchise shifts and the expansion of both leagues that changed the face of baseball during his tenure.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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