Byron ‘Ban’ Johnson was a successful baseball executive who is responsible for founding the American League. In 1893 he was elected president of the Western League, which was a failing minor league circuit operating in cities such as Detroit, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Kansas City. Johnson was able to turn the Western League around and helped make it one of the most profitable leagues in baseball, even rivaling with National League attendances. In 1900 he changed the league’s name to the American League and one year later, in 1901, he declared major league status, competing with the well- established National League. Through Johnson’s effective leadership, the American League proved they were on the same level as the National League by their attendance numbers as well as the level of play on the field. Ban Johnson remained American League president until 1927.
-Michael Rinehart Jr.
August 15, 2011