Kuhn, Bowie Kent

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Kuhn, Bowie Kent

Bowie Kent Kuhn (bōō´ē, kyōōn), 1926–2007, American lawyer and commissioner of baseball, b. Takoma Park, Md. He was legal counsel for the baseball club owners before his election as commissioner in 1969. His 15-year tenure was tumultuous and historic, filled with player boycotts and owner disenchantment; the end of the century-old reserve clause, which resulted in player free agency and higher player salaries; and the expansion of the number of franchises, which led to the first Canadian teams and the creation of divisions with the leagues and postseason playoffs. Although players and owners criticized his handling of labor issues, Kuhn maintained the absolute authority of the commissioner's office to act in baseball's best interest. He best demonstrated this in 1976 when he struck down a controversial multimillion-dollar sale by Oakland of players to Boston and New York.

See his Hardball (1987).

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