Does the NHL commissioner need to be free from owners' control?
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12-08-2012, 10:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Originally Posted by
20 years ago, the office of NHL commissioner was proposed. The emphasis was to be on the growth of the game.
Is the original ideal too idealistic to be realistic in the twenty-first century?
The original ideal was derived from MLB's original ideal; it's where the title came from. The National Commission was the body that made peace between the AL and NL and organized/sanctioned the World Series. The two league presidents joined with the chairman to form the Commission.
When Judge Landis was appointed, he made it conditional upon him actually becoming the Commission. The league presidents were reduced to their previous scope of powers, and Landis basically ruled like Louis XIV: "I am the state".
Ultimately, all commissioners since Landis more or less rule the same way. The role of the office has changed over time, as the issues went from mediating disputes and occasionally making a ruling to becoming all-encompassing. The success of a commissioner depends on the same conditions as a dictator.
Now, in the case of Landis, he's a good source because his reign has been so closely scrutinized. He was one of the only guys to realize the scope and devastation of gambling and fixing games, and the only one except Walter Johnson to stand up to the problem. His position on minor league baseball becoming a fiefdom was prophetic, but the manner in which he broke up the far systems was wrong. His stance on integration was absolutely wrong, but we must also consider the conditions of the time (Happy Chandler faced a 15-1 vote against integration, but overruled the 15 and allowed Jackie Robinson to play).
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