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Ex-MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis's Name Removed From MVP Awards


The Baseball Writers Association of America voted to remove former MLB commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis's name from the American and National League MVP Awards.

A total of 313 votes were cast, and 89% were in favor of stripping Landis's name from the plaques. The MVP awards will be nameless in 2020, and the organization will decide on renaming them in 2021.

In June, former NL MVPs Barry Larkin, Mike Schmidt and Terry Pendleton spoke out about removing Landis's name from the awards due to his impact on slowing integration in MLB.

"If you're looking to expose individuals in baseball's history who promoted racism by continuing to close baseball’s doors to men of color, Kenesaw Landis would be a candidate," Schmidt, a three-time NL MVP with the Phillies, told the Associated Press.

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Larkin said Landis's name on his 1995 NL MVP award still bothers him to this day.

"His name should not be represented on a plaque or award of honor, especially at this day and time," he said. "If his name was taken off, I would not be opposed to it at all."

Landis became MLB's first commissioner in 1920, and he decided in 1931 that members of the BBWAA would pick and present the MVP awards. During the 1944 World Series, the organization voted to add his name to the plaques. A month later, Landis died at the age of 78. 

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, and Larry Doby followed later that season as the first African American player to break the color barrier in the American League.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.