Happy Chandler arrived in the Commissioner's
office at the right time; otherwise, Jackie
Robinson might never have played in the major leagues for
many years and African Americans would have had to wait even
longer. Judge Landis wanted no part of an integrated league,
and 15 of the 16 teams disapproved of it. Chandler, on the other
hand, welcomed the move and history was made!
A former Senator from Kentucky, Chandler
was well aware of controversy about breaking baseball's racial
barriers; he just felt it was the right thing to do. He hardly
could have anticipated the controversy he would be embroiled
in during his second year of tenure, however.
A feud had developed between New York
Yankees President Larry MacPhail and Dodgers officials, including
and manager Leo
Durocher. MacPhail had signed Dodgers coaches Chuck Dressen
and John Corriden while they were still employed by the Dodgers.
Meanwhile, Durocher actively sought the Yankee managerial position
while still employed by the Dodgers.
Before Opening Day, the Commissioner
suspended Durocher for the entire season for "conduct detrimental
to baseball" for his association with gamblers. Chandler also
suspended Dressen for 30 days and both the Dodgers and Yankees
$2,000 each. On a more positive note for the 1947 season, Chandler
was instrumental in beginning the player pension fund, using
proceeds from MLB's radio broadcasting contract.