Leonard Coleman

From BR Bullpen

Leonard S. Coleman Jr.

Biographical Information[edit]

Leonard Coleman was the last President of the National League, serving from March 1, 1994 to October 28, 1999, after which the two league offices were disbanded and their functions were subsumed into the Commissioner's office.

An African-American, he attended Princeton University as an undergraduate and played college football, before going on to Harvard University for his post-graduate studies in public administration and education, eventually earning a PhD. He then went into public service for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the state's Department of Energy. He then worked as an executive in the private sector before being hired by the National League. It was at a time when the two league presidents were losing power to the benefit of the Commissioner's office, leading to their abolition in short order. Thus, he played almost no role in resolving the 1994 strike that did significant damage to baseball a few months after he assumed office, or in the crisis caused by the mass resignation of members of the Major League Umpires Association in 1999. He did push for better conditioning by umpire following the death of John McSherry from a heart attack at the start of the 1996 season, convincing Eric Gregg among others to take some time off to lose weight and get himself into better shape.

He was an important supporter of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program aimed at increasing youth participation in baseball in disadvantaged urban areas, and served on the board of the Jackie Robinson Foundation for many years.

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