Clipped From The Pantagraph

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 - SPORTS By WILL GRIMSLEY Associated Press...
SPORTS By WILL GRIMSLEY Associated Press Chandler's election surprises everyone ALTHOUGH THERE HAD been a strong grass roots campaign, nudged by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, to get Happy Chandler into baseball's Hall of Fame, the election of the vibrant, innovative former commissioner caught everyone completely by surprise. His name was conspicuously missing from the long list of prospects posed by newsmen and baseball personalitieall personalities for consideration by the Veterans Committee. Of the non-players, the most talk centered on the late Walter O'Malley of the Dodgers and his longtime manager, Walter Alston. The old players' rollcall ran the gamut: Charlie Grimm, Jimmy Dykes, Johnny Sain and, the latest Joe Cronin committee. Afterward, Kuhn received a telephone call from Chandler in Versailles, Ky., home of the former Kentucky governor and U.S. senator. "I could tell," Kuhn said, "near the end of the conversation Happy was so choked up he was crying. I must admit there were tears running down my cheek when I hung up." It was Kuhn who rescued Chandler from the baseball dungeon after the 83-year-old Kentuckian had been completely cut off by the baseball establishment. KUHN RECTIFIED the gross injustice by inviting Chandler to World Series and All-Star Games. The commissioner recalled the frigid Sunday night second game of the 1976 World Series beween Cincinnati and the Yankees (swept by the Reds), when Chandler was his guest in the open box at fieldside. "I was bare-headed, wearing only a business suit," said Kuhn, often chided because of his disdain for icy temperatures in a warm weather sport, "and there was Happy all wrapped up in a fur coat with a full fur collar, thick scarves and wearing a, Kentucky Wildcat hat. He was shivering. "I turned to motion toward the press box and Happy said, 'Here, commissioner, take my coat. You'll catch your death of cold.'" Stories of Happy Chandler abound. Even his critics acknowledge that he was strong administrator too strong, perhaps, for the owners who wanted a commissioner they could control. Bob Broeg, veteran baseball writer of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, recalls a speech made by Chandler two years before he had forced the majors to accept Jackie Robinson. "HE TOLD an audience that he didn't think anybody, black or white, should be denied a chance to play this game," Broeg said. People who know him marvel at Happy's amazing photographic memory. "I have total recall," Chandler says. "I can remember every incident to the smallest detail that has happened in my life." An Associated Press assistant sports editor, Harold "Spike" Claassen, recalled that he was introduced to Chandler twice at a cocktail party once as "Spike" while standing," another time as "Harold" while sitting.' "Every time I ran into him afterward," Claassen said, Happy called me 'Spike' if we were standing, 'Harold' if sitting down." Chandler himself delights in relating stories about his suspension of Brooklyn Dodgers Manager Leo Durocher in 1947 for an accumlation of actions deemed "detrimental to the game." "LEO'S WIFE came up and asked me to lift the suspension," he said. "I told her how Leo was going around playing cards with the ballplayers and influencing people to take money from them, that he was a bad man. "She got mad at me. But shortly afterward Leo left her for Laraine Day, the actress, and the wife sought me out later and said 'You were right.'" Chandler recalled that actor George Raft, a friend of Leo's, also tried to intervene. "I asked Raft, 'Have you got a baseball contract?' He said, 'No, sir.' I told him, 'I am commissioner of baseball take your business somewhere else.'" SCENE eligible, Phil Rizzuto. Bill Guilfoyle, the en-' terprising publicity director of the Hall of Fame, found he had neglected to include a Chandler sketch in his preparedness portfolio. There was a quick scramble among newsmen for Chandler biographical material, although many oldsters could draw much from memory. It was learned later that Gabe Paul, president of the Cleveland Indians, and Joe Cronin, the Hall of Famer who once served as president of the American League, had led the successful fight in the

Clipped from
  1. The Pantagraph,
  2. 16 Mar 1982, Tue,
  3. [First Edition],
  4. Page 11

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