Will Harridge

By Walt Baranger

What do you do with an able but colorless administrator who helped start the All-Star Game but tried to kill night baseball?

Will Harridge

Stick him in the Hall of Fame, of course.

Harridge worked his way up the American League hierarchy, staying in the shadows of Ban Johnson and advocating as little change as possible.

He resisted night baseball games until the changing labor force during World War II forced the league to accommodate fans who worked in the vital defense industries during the day.

In 1956, he barred the Washington Senators from moving to California. The National League moved there at the end of the next season, and the American League had no presence on the West Coast until 1961. That same year the Senators moved to Minnesota anyway.

Harridge retired as league president in 1958, one year before Pumpsie Green became the first black player on the Boston Red Sox. His legacy on integration, like many other things, hobbled the American League for the next two decades.

Baseball-Reference.com offers this memorable Will Harridge quote: “There’s never been a morning in my life that I didn’t look forward to going to my office.”

Not to a ballgame, but to his office. Real Hall of Fame material.

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