This tape features the continuation of an interview with former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn (1926-2007), shot for the 1986 television special "Once A Star."
00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars and tone.
00:52Copy video clip URL Former MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn sits in the board room of his law firm. Kuhn says that he is sometimes recognized on the street more than some ball players, and that commissioners commonly have a “high recognition factor.” Some former commissioners, though, preferred to keep a low profile, according to Kuhn. Public recognition comes with a cost, and at one point Kuhn had to have a police guard around his house.
03:19Copy video clip URL Kuhn speaks about the freedom of international players to come to the United States, specifically those from Cuba and Japan. Kuhn attributes the lack of Japanese ballplayers in the US to their culture, and then speaks about sending Americans over to Japan and Korea.
06:05Copy video clip URL Producer Tom Weinberg brings the conversation back to the relationship between being in the public eye and the power of the commissioner’s job. Kuhn answers by citing a specific instance when an owner challenged his authority, as well as talking about the Pine Tar Incident. “Power is important. You can’t function without the power.” He lists good qualities in a commissioner, including an ability to lead.
10:21Copy video clip URL Weinberg asks about the impact of public opinion on the actions of the MLB commissioner, but Kuhn denies there is an influence, saying he only did what was right: “I think if you look at my record you’ll find invariably that’s the way it went.”
11:36Copy video clip URL Weinberg asks specifically about a contract that excluded the Cubs night games. Kuhn explains the details of the situation, focusing primarily on scheduling issues due to the Cubs’ stadium lacking the lighting necessary for night games.
15:12Copy video clip URL Though Kuhn admits that TV and broadcasting are important to baseball, he emphasizes that they only had a “peripheral” impact on the sport, affecting only things like start times. Weinberg brings the conversation to “TV money,” but Kuhn says that the gate tickets are the largest part of baseball revenues, though this may be different in other sports: “Attendance revenue still remains king. […] I think baseball has been pretty smart in not letting the television industry say, ‘You are really going to change the fundamentals of the game to accommodate us.'” For instance, the MLB does not let television join games in progress. Kuhn continues to describe the relationship between the media and the commissioner, who do not step on each other’s toes.
19:20Copy video clip URL End of tape.