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Our History: Featured Alumni/ae: Kuhn, Bowie K., 1950

Over the decades our graduates have developed distinguished careers as justices, members of Congress, ambassadors, educators, business people, and community leaders in many fields. This site features some of those late graduates.

Arthur J. Morris Law Library

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Bowie K. Kuhn

Commissioner of Major League Baseball

Bowie K. Kuhn Kuhn was born in Takoma Park, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., on October 28, 1926. He graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School, and then attended Franklin and Marshall College in the Naval V-12 Officer Training Program before going to Princeton University in 1945. He graduated from Princeton with honors in 1947 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. He received his law degree in 1950 from the University of Virginia where he served on the editorial board of the Law Review.

Following his graduation from law school, Kuhn became a member of the New York law firm Wilkie, Farr and Gallagher, which he chose because it represented the National League. He spent the next 19 years working in baseball's legal affairs and was counsel to the NL in the lawsuit brought against it by the City of Milwaukee when the Braves moved to Atlanta. He also served as counsel for negotiations between the Major League Players Association and the club owners.

When General William Eckert left the Commissionership, Kuhn was elected baseball's fifth Commissioner by a unanimous vote of the 24 club owners on February 4, 1969. His 15 year tenure as Commissioner is second in longevity to Kenesaw Mountain Landis' 23 years. In less than one month, Kuhn had helped solve the biggest issue facing baseball by negotiating a new three-year contract between the owners and the Players Association. The settlement came after more than 40 negotiating sessions and prevented what could have been baseball's first strike.

Under Kuhn, the major leagues endured a 57-day players' strike in 1981. Also during his tenure Major League Baseball grew from 20 to 26 teams and attendance increased from 23 million fans in 1968 to 45.5 million in 1983. Kuhn left office on September 30, 1984 and passed away on March 15, 2007, in Jacksonville, Florida. As Commissioner Bud Selig noted at the time, “"He led our game through a great deal of change and controversy. Yet, Bowie laid the groundwork for the success we enjoy today."

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