Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with A.B. Happy Chandler, September 3, 1980

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:07 - Early life / love of baseball

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Partial Transcript: One thing that I would like to do would like to do is start with a little bit of your background and your love of baseball.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his youth, in which he played baseball, and how he came to love the game.

Keywords: Baseball gloves; First jobs; Gloves; Paperboys; Youth

Subjects: Baseball; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991

00:03:12 - High School years / Earle Clements

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Partial Transcript: Then later I played with the high school baseball team.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his high school years and his friendship with Earle C. Clements, as well as their political relationship

Keywords: Baseball teams; Governors; High school; High school sports; Sports; Tom Rhea

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985

00:04:42 - College years at Transylvania College

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Partial Transcript: After I left, uh, Corydon, I came to Transylvania College of course, uh...

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his time at Transylvania College, now Transylvania University, as a student and a baseball player. He provides his statistics and tells stories of games that he played.

Keywords: Baseball; Statistics; Transylvania College; University of Tennessee

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Transylvania University

00:07:12 - Chandler's Minor League years

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Partial Transcript: ...Although I played, uh, I played at Grafton, North Dakota in 1920 and the field out there is named for me...

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses the period after his college years when he played Minor League baseball.

Keywords: Barnstorming; Bluegrass League; No hitters

Subjects: Baseball; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Minor league baseball.

00:11:41 - Chandler's relationship with his Father

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Partial Transcript: Where were we?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his relationship with his father and their love of baseball. He shares some of the conversations they had about it.

Keywords: Fathers; Parents

Subjects: Baseball; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991

00:15:33 - Being governor of Kentucky and commissioner of baseball

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Partial Transcript: Do you feel that, um, he was more proud of you as a political figure or as commissioner of baseball?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses what he valued more: being the governor of Kentucky or being baseball commissioner.

Keywords: Governors

Subjects: Baseball commissioners; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky. Governor (1935-1939 : Chandler).; Kentucky. Governor (1955-1959 : Chandler)

00:16:32 - Umpiring baseball

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Partial Transcript: When did you first start going to Major League ba-- baseball games?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his time as an umpire in the Bluegrass League after he stopped playing baseball himself.

Keywords: Bluegrass League; Umpires

Subjects: Baseball umpires; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Major League Baseball (Organization)

00:21:58 - First Major League game

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Partial Transcript: Did you see your first game at Cincinnati do you believe?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his first experience seeing a Major League baseball game and getting to know some of the people involved in the game.

Keywords: Charlie Moran; Personality

Subjects: Baseball; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Cincinnati Reds (Baseball Team); Rickey, Branch, 1881-1965; St. Louis Cardinals (Baseball Team)

00:23:27 - The integration of baseball

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Partial Transcript: Judge Landis was a, an unusual fellow. And, uh, and he was wrong about the black thing, but they were all wrong about it.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses his decision to integrate baseball, and how he feels that he does not get as much credit for this as he deserves.

Keywords: Integration

Subjects: Baseball; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Major League Baseball (Organization); Newcombe, Donald; Rickey, Branch, 1881-1965; Segregation

00:24:39 - Larry McPhail

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Partial Transcript: So you became Governor, the first time...

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses meeting Larry MacPhail, the relationship he had with him, MacPhail's personality, and his ongoing battle with alcoholism.

Keywords: Alcohol; Alcoholism

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Cincinnati Reds (Baseball Team); MacPhail, Larry, 1890-1975; Major League Baseball (Organization)

00:28:38 - The player pension plan

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Partial Transcript: ...He and I are responsible for player pension too.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses seeing players Vance and Alexander near destitution, and how that was the impetus for the creation of the pension fund for baseball players.

Keywords: Dazzy Vance; Grover Cleveland Alexander; Pensions; Player pensions

Subjects: Baseball players; Pensions--Law and legislation

00:31:15 - Becoming baseball commissioner

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Partial Transcript: What I'd like to do, um, would be to get into 1945.

Segment Synopsis: Chandler tells how he became baseball commissioner, how he always wanted to have that job, and his qualifications for it.

Keywords: Major League Baseball (Organization)

Subjects: Baseball commissioners; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991

00:38:26 - Family reaction

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Partial Transcript: What was your family's reaction?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses how his family reacted to his election as baseball commissioner and how this event changed their lives. He also discusses his return to politics after his time as commissioner. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Politicians; Politics

Subjects: Baseball commissioners; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky. Governor (1955-1959 : Chandler)