Elected to the Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 1937
The founder of the American League, Ban Johnson was baseball's most influential executive for nearly a quarter of a century. As president of the Western League, he changed its name to the American League in 1900 and claimed major league status the following year. Despite opposition by National League owners, the new league quickly proved its competitiveness on the field and at the gate. Johnson became the most significant member of the National Commission, baseball's ruling body until 1920.