With an academic background in economics
and law, Kuhn was well suited to serve as Commissioner. He was
counsel to the NL for the lawsuit brought against it by the
City of Milwaukee when the Braves
moved to Atlanta. He also served as counsel for negotiations
between the Major League Players Association and the club owners.
He played a crucial role in preventing the first potential strike
shortly after taking over as Commissioner.
The following year brought the Curt
Flood reserve case of 1970. Traded by the St.
Louis Cardinals to the Phillies,
Flood refused to report to his new team--instead challenging
the legality of the reserve clause and the right of clubs to
trade players at will. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld
the lower courts decisions in favor of baseball, ruling that
federal antitrust laws did not apply to the game. But things
were soon to change radically after this temporary setback in
the 1975 Messersmith-McNally
Under Kuhn's tenure baseball did suffer
a nearly two month strike in 1981, baseball expanded from 20
to 26 teams, and attendance doubled from 23 million to 46 million.