Kenesaw Mountain Landis

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Kenesaw Mountain Landis (pronounced /ˈkɛnɨsɔː ˈmaʊntɨn ˈlændɨs/; November 20, 1866–November 25, 1944) was an American jurist who served as a federal judge from 1905 to 1922, and subsequently as the first commissioner of organized baseball, including both the American and National leagues and the governing body of minor league baseball, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, from 1920 until his death.


Personal life

He was born in Millville, Ohio to Abraham Hoch Landis and Mary Kumler. He grew up in Logansport, Indiana where, at the age of 17, he played on and managed the Logansport High School baseball team. He later dropped out of school to take a job at the courthouse in South Bend, Indiana.[1] His name came from a misspelling of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia, where his father, a physician, fought on the Union side and lost a leg during the American Civil War at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. Two of his brothers, Charles Beary Landis (1858–1922) and Frederick Landis (1872–1934), served in the United States Congress.

Judicial career

He took pre-law courses at the University of Cincinnati and obtained a law degree at Union Law School, now Northwestern University School of Law, in Chicago, IL. He graduated in 1891, and opened a law practice in Chicago.[1] After being appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to the bench of the Northern District of Illinois in 1905, Landis dealt with several cases of historical significance during his career as a U.S. federal judge. In 1907, he presided over a Standard Oil antitrust trial fining them $29 million for accepting rail freight rebates, although the verdict was later set aside.

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