The first Commissioner NOT to have a political background, Ford Frick was a multi-talented journalist with experience in teaching, ghost writing and advertising. After graduating from DePauw University, Frick took a position as an English teacher at Colorado High School and also freelanced as a beat writer for the Colorado Springs Gazette. Two years later, he left teaching to become the supervisor of training in the rehabilitation division of the War Department for four states (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming). Although the position was important, Frick could not ignore his "writers' bug" and briefly worked for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver before returning to Colorado Springs to open his own advertising agency and write a weekly editorial column for the Colorado Springs Telegraph.
An enthusiastic baseball fan, Frick landed his dream job in 1922 after joining the sports staff of the New York American. The following year, he moved on to the Evening Journal where he covered the New York Yankees and eventually became a ghostwriter for Babe Ruth. Things got even better when he finally left the typewriter behind in favor of the microphone to become a sportscaster with station WOR. A rising figure in the sports media, Frick was named the first director of the National League Service Bureau and was put in charge of all publicity for Major League Baseball. He excelled rapidly at the position and was later elected as the President of the National League, succeeding John A. Heydler.
His first act as president was a passionate proposal for the establishment of a National Baseball Museum to honor the greatest players ever to take the field. This of course let to the Hall of Fame. He was also instrumental in saving several franchises from bankruptcy including the Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Braves, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. Immensely popular amongst the owners, he held the position until September 1951 when sixteen of them elected him Commissioner on September 20, 1951.
During his tenure, Frick was responsible for many changes in the reconstruction, expansion and transition of baseball. Some of the major changes included the growth from eight to ten teams in each league, the establishment of multiple national television contracts, a league draft and college scholarship system and the introduction of baseball on the international level in countries such as Japan, Central America, Holland, Italy and Africa.
Not unlike his Major League Baseball forefathers, Frick was also contested on several occasions for policies that did not agree with the public's view. His most controversial decision came in 1961 when he caved under pressure from the sports writing community (that he had once been a part of) and ruled that Roger Maris' record sixty-one home run season should be recorded with an asterisk due to the fact it transpired over a one-hundred sixty-two game period as opposed to the one-hundred fifty-four that Babe Ruth experienced. This suggestion stood for the next thirty years and would remain as a black eye on an otherwise stellar career. Frick would later go on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, in which he helped establish in 1970. He also became the namesake of the Ford C. Frick Award, given to outstanding Hall of Fame broadcasters.