Bowie Kuhn, Former baseball commissioner
who once said he wanted to be remembered simply "as a good Catholic man," died March 15 in a Jacksonville, Fla., hospital. He was 80. After retiring as commissioner in 1984, he became active in many Catholic-oriented projects, including several with Thomas Monaghan, the Domino's Pizza founder who had bought the Detroit Tigers during the last year of Kuhn's tenure. Among the projects, both men served as board members on the Catholic Campaign for America and the Catholic Values Investment Trust, and both were part of a Catholic Task Force assembled by the Republican National Committee. As commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1969 to 1984, he oversaw the sport during a stormy time. Labor unrest in the game was rife, with five work stoppages-including two season-shortening strikes-and challenges to the reserve clause that bound a player to one team for life, as well as free agency for players. Kuhn also oversaw the expansion of the major leagues to 26 teams, the introduction of night games for the World Series, and the beginning of a renaissance for the sport, which resulted in upsurges in attendance and richer television contracts. He used his powers as commissioner to act in the "best interest of baseball" to revoke the sale in 1976 of several Oakland A's stars by owner Charles O. Finley, and to suspend players and owners alike for conduct detrimental to the game, even barring Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays for a time when they were hired by gambling casinos. In a 1999 interview with The Long Island Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Kuhn said his faith was his anchor throughout his life. "My Church taught me the importance of right and wrong," he said. Born in Takoma Park, Md., he grew up in Washington, D.C., graduated from Princeton University and earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. His first job out of school was with a law firm that represented the National League. He is survived by wife Luisa, son Stephen, daughter Alix Bower and stepsons Paul and George Degener. The Associated Press reported that a funeral was planned in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.