Interview with Richard Butler, October 17, 1976
Project: A. B. "Happy" Chandler: Desegregation of Major League Baseball Oral History Project
Interview SummaryRichard Butler was an assistant to Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler. In this interview, he discusses his job as assistant to Chandler, Chandler's relationship to Larry MacPhail, the status of baseball after World War II, and the status of the minor leagues. He compares Chandler as a commissioner to his predecessor Judge Kennesaw Landis, also describing his plan for baseball and the commissioner's office, and his relationship with baseball team owners. He talks about Leslie O'Connor, the Pacific Coast League, the so-called "high school rule" and the Zoederman lawsuit, and the problems facing baseball during the Chandler era. He describes his (Butler's) enforcement of the "high school rule", the Major League's relationship with college programs, the Paul Pettit case, the salary limits in the minor leagues that were not enforced, the reserve clause, and Robert Murphy's attempt to organize a players' union. He talks about Chandler's use of former FBI agents in investigations, problems with the Mexican League, the integration of the major leagues and owners' resistance to it, Butler's association with Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, and Roy Campanella, Chandler's attitude toward integration and his support of Branch Rickey. He tells how Jackie Robinson was considered to be the "perfect man" to be chosen to integrate major league baseball, also describing Chandler's decisions as commissioner, the suspension of Leo Durocher, Chandler's decision-making process, and the Danny Gardella lawsuit in 1951-52. He discusses the controversy over Chandler's contract renewal as commissioner and the St. Petersburg owners' meeting, his (Chandler's) reaction to not being rehired as commissioner, his relationship with the owners at the St. Petersburg meetings, especially with owner Bill Veeck. Other topics include Walter Mulbry's role in the commissioner's office and Butler's opinion of Chandler as baseball commissioner.
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Butler, Richard Interview by William J. Marshall. 17 Oct. 1976. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Butler, R. (1976, October 17). Interview by W. J. Marshall. A. B. "Happy" Chandler: Desegregation of Major League Baseball Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Butler, Richard, interview by William J. Marshall. October 17, 1976, A. B. "Happy" Chandler: Desegregation of Major League Baseball Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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