Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bowie Kuhn Dead at 80...Rest in Peace [J. Mark English]


Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig made the following statement today upon learning of the passing of Bowie Kuhn, who served as Baseball Commissioner from 1969-84.

"My wife, Sue, and I are terribly saddened by the passing of Bowie Kuhn. He was a close friend, a respected leader, and an impressive figure in all ways. He led our game through a great deal of change and controversy. Yet, Bowie laid the groundwork for the success we enjoy today. He brought us expansion, night World Series games, and greater national television exposure.

"All of baseball mourns him and I have asked all clubs to observe a moment of silence and fly their flags at half mast in his honor. My condolences and sympathies go out to Luisa, to their children and to their legion of friends and admirers."

Comments -

I had the great fortune of sharing lunch with Bowie Kuhn ten years ago. The man was a devoted Catholic, who attended Mass every day, living his later years in the eastern Long Island, where we had the chance to meet him. He dedicated much of his time to helping pregnancy care centers across the country in their battle to give desperate women, that are pregnant, options they might not otherwise afford.

My parents invited him over to have lunch with my family on a Sunday in late summer. He was stoic by nature, and very reserved. I did not appreciate the man who was sitting at the table, being only a teenager. But this was someone who fought to keep baseball in its "old school" stage. He fought hard against free agency. The court battle of MLB versus the players union was a historic contest that has lasting ramifications on professional sports to this day.

But those battles had long since passed when he was with us. He only spoke of the game he loved so much. He projected a time in the future when baseball will not just be played professionally in the United States but across all of the continents. He envisioned a MLB league in China, or Asia as a whole one day. His hope was that the World Series would truly be a World Series.

Men like him are rare. They should be remembered for the values they stood for, and for what their honesty, integrity, and character brought to the game of baseball. He will be missed. So long Mr. Commissioner. May you be in peace for eternity.

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