The Imperial Commissioner Mountain Landis and his Progeny: The Evolving Power of Commissioners over Players
Wm. David Cornwell Sr.
I am pleased to be here, and I am also quite pleased by both the provocative observations made by the prior panelists and the questions. I am going to take a few minutes to talk about the tension between commissioner authority and the labor laws, and how that tension has now been further exacerbated by threatened federal legislation in this arena. Historically, commissioners enjoyed broad plenary authority to act and to regulate conduct when their authority was exercised under the rubric of “the best interests of the game.” Mountain Landis, the first Commissioner of Major League Baseball, was granted that power by the owners and then it was judicially approved shortly thereafter when he sought to force a Major League Baseball team to release a player. . . .