Originally written on Full Spectrum Baseball  |  Last updated 11/16/14

2 May 1997: New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner watches pensively at the 123rd Kentucky Derky at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
A widely respected true man of baseball has passed away. Lee MacPhail was a primary representative of the second generation of MacPhails, a family that has served the game since the 1930s and still remains involved to this day. He died Thursday at age 95 in Delray Beach, Florida. MacPhail understood the greater good of the game and worked for it. He helped usher in the designated-hitter rule, presided over the expansion of the American League, was a force in the settlement of the 1981 players’ strike and used his influence to bring Interleague Play to the fore. Before that, he was general manager of the Orioles and Yankees. Whatever MacPhail did, he did with class and dignity. George Steinbrenner once said, “You don’t want to be against MacPhail on an important issue too many times because you start to look bad if you are.” MacPhail earned a place in the Hall of Fame, in 1998. He and his father, Larry (who guided the Reds, Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers) are the lone father-son tandem in Cooperstown. “Lee MacPhail was one of the great executives in baseball history and a Hall of Famer in every sense, both personally and professionally,” Commissioner Bud Selig said to MLB.com. “I had great admiration for Lee as American League president, and he was respected and liked by everyone with whom he came in contact. His hallmarks were dignity, common sense and humility. “He was not only a remarkable league executive, but was a true baseball man as is evidenced by his brilliant leadership of the storied New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles franchises. Lee always put the interests of the sport first and through his love of the game taught all of us to cherish it in every way. Major League Baseball and all of our clubs feel a great sense of loss today, and I send my deepest condolences to one of the first families of the national pastime.” While Lee MacPhail served as league president during Bowie Kuhn’s tenure as Commissioner, he was seen as the de facto conscience of the game because of his wisdom, fairness and balanced outlook. “Everyone should listen when Mr. MacPhail speaks,” then-Rangers owner Eddie Chiles said in 1982. “We all can learn from him.” Oddly, MacPhail’s highest profile developed in 1983 when Steinbrenner dragged him into the pine-tar war. The relentlessness of the Yankees owner made prolonged the pine tar incident to such a degree that the generic term eventually warranted upper-case treatment. Countless skirmishes between Steinbrenner and MacPhail about umpires’ calls kept the dignified league president in headlines. The MacPhail family is the executive-level equivalent of the Bells, Boones and Griffeys. Beginning with Lee’s father, Larry, it carries through Larry’s grandsons. Andy served the Twins, Cubs and Orioles as general manager, and Lee III, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1969 while he was working as the general manager of the Reading Phillies. Lee IV, Lee’s grandson, has worked for the Orioles as their director of professional scouting. In between though was Leland Stanford MacPhail Jr. He was as MLB.com described “a man you could trust with your watch, your secret or your franchise.”
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Report: Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

Chip Kelly: Tim Tebow is here to compete for a job

Report: Nigel Williams-Goss transferring to Gonzaga

Philly store offering Eagles 'jersey insurance'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Chris Paul listed as questionable for Game 1 vs. Rockets

Pacquiao had injured shoulder, considered postponing fight

Mayweather beats Pacquiao by unanimous decision

Did Evan Mathis respond to Chip Kelly's slight with barb?

WATCH: American Pharoah wins Kentucky Derby

Report: Rams trade RB Zac Stacy to Jets

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

WATCH: Tony Allen walks through children performing, gets booed

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods have broken up

WATCH: Two games end with baserunners hit by batted balls

WATCH: Damian Lilliard delivers great graduation speech

Jets do not envision Bryce Petty starting in 2015

Clippers beat Spurs on Chris Paul shot in Game 7

Jimmy Kimmel's Manny Pacquiao T-shirt goes viral

Big fight packs airport, leaves no room for planes

Pete Carroll discusses Russell Wilson's contract status

Jim Harbaugh not happy Lou Holtz is out at ESPN

Cubs fans want Harry Caray video for seventh inning stretch

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

Report: Steph Curry to be NBA MVP

Kelly: Tebow here to compete for job

Tony Allen booed for being rude?

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods break up

Pacquiao fought with injured shoulder?

Winners and losers from the NFL draft

Report: Zac Stacy traded to Jets

Hardy apologizes for joke about 9/11

Jerry Jones sends letter to Pacquiao

Mayweather bans Beadle, Nichols

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.