Position: National League President
Warren Giles served as National League president from 1952 to 1969. He was intimately involved in the development of the farm system and, later, the scouting and signing of African-American and Latin-American players.
Warren Giles (1896-1979) was a native of Moline, Illinois, and a three-sport athlete in high school. He was an Army officer and was wounded in World War I. When he returned from the war, he went to a meeting of the stockholders of the Moline club in the Three-I League. The other shareholders at the meeting were so impressed by his aptitude that they named him president of the club; Moline won a pennant in 1921.
Cardinals president Branch Rickey admired Giles and hired him in 1925 to be the president of the Syracuse club in the International League. Giles worked for minor-league teams in the St. Louis farm system for 11 seasons, winning four pennants.
In 1937, Giles was hired to replace Larry MacPhail as the general manager of the cellar-dwelling Cincinnati Reds. His first task was hiring Bill McKechnie, and together they guided Cincy to a first-place finish in 1939 and a world championship in 1940. Giles also restored the team to financial strength during his 16-year stint.
When commissioner Happy Chandler's term expired in 1952, the owners were deadlocked over a successor, either NL president Ford Frick or Warren. Giles withdrew his name in the interest of unity and took Frick's vacant post as National League president.
Giles oversaw the moving west of the Boston Braves to Milwaukee in 1953. While that shift created some debate, it was nothing like the turmoil created in 1957 when the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and the Giants moved from New York to San Francisco. When Giles's old boss, Branch Rickey, proposed creating a rival Continental League with a franchise in New York, Giles moved to expand the NL and created the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.
Giles also tried his best to eliminate the bean ball, though little was accomplished. In 1965, Giles had to suspend Giants star pitcher Juan Marichal for eight days and fine him $1,750 for clubbing Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro on the head with a bat. Many new stadiums and new stars entered the National League during Giles's administration. His support of Latin scouting gave the NL a huge boost in the acquisition of talent. Warren was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.
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