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Albert "Happy" Chandler

AKA Albert Benjamin Chandler

Born: 14-Jul-1898
Birthplace: Corydon, KY
Died: 15-Jun-1991
Location of death: Versailles, KY
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Pisgah Presbyterian Cemetery, Versailles, KY

Gender: Male
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Politician, Baseball
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Kentucky Governor, Baseball Commissioner

Military service: US Army (1918-19)

Nicknamed for his jovial disposition, Albert "Happy" Chandler was a Kentucky attorney, Commissioner of Baseball, and twice Governor of the bluegrass state (serving one term in the 1930s and a second term twenty years later). He was appointed to the US Senate in 1939, serving until 1945. A generally conservative Democrat, he was vigorously opposed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal", and was defeated for re-election in the 1938 Democratic primary by Roosevelt's ally, Senator Alben W. Barkley, who lost in the general election. In his second stint as governor, he called out the National Guard to enforce racial integration in two public schools in 1957.

Chandler was named Commissioner of Baseball in 1945, succeeding Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Overseeing the sport, he approved Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey's contract with Jackie Robinson, ending the racial barrier that blocked African-Americans from playing the major leagues. Now revered as a great and defining moment in the history of the game and of the nation, Chandler's decision was extremely controversial at the time, angering team owners, radio sponsors, and many ticket-holders. Along with his 1947 year-long suspension of Dodgers manager Leo Durocher for associating with known gamblers, the Robinson contract was undoubtedly a factor in MLB owners' decision not to renew Chandler's contract in 1951.

He briefly played semi-pro baseball as a teenager. His grandson is US Congressman Ben Chandler (D-Kentucky).

Father: Joseph Sephus Chandler
Mother: Callie Saunders Chandler Fortune Chamberlin
Brother: Robert Chandler (d. 1912 fall)
Wife: Mildred Watkins Chandler (m. 12-Nov-1925, four children)
Daughter: Marcella Watkins Chandler Miller (stepdaughter)
Son: Albert Benjamin Chandler Jr.
Son: Joseph Daniel Chandler ("Dan", b. 17-Oct-1933, d. 27-Apr-2003)
Daughter: Mimi Chandler Lewis (b. 15-Oct-1926)

    High School: Corydon High School, Corydon, KY (1917)
    University: BA, Transylvania University (1921)
    Law School: Harvard Law School (attended, 1921-22)
    Law School: LLB, University of Kentucky (1924)
    Administrator: Trustee, Transylvania University
    Administrator: Trustee, University of Kentucky

    Governor of Kentucky (1955-59)
    Major League Baseball Commissioner (1945-1951)
    US Senator, Kentucky (1939-45)
    Governor of Kentucky (1935-39)
    Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky (1931-35)
    Kentucky State Senate (1930-31)
    Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame 1957
    Baseball Hall of Fame 1982
    Democratic National Committee
    Kentucky Bar Association
    Declared Martial Law Louisville, KY (Jan-1937)
    Heart Attack 15-Jun-1991 (fatal)

    Baseball (18-Sep-1994) · Himself

Author of books:
Heroes, Plain Folks, and Skunks (1989)

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