Albert Chandler

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Albert Chandler

Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler (July 14, 1898June 15, 1991) was a governor of Kentucky, a U.S. Senator and Baseball Commissioner.

Chandler was born in Corydon, Kentucky. He graduated from Transylvania University in 1921 and the University of Kentucky Law School and joined the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

Chandler served in the state senate of Kentucky in 1929. He served as Governor from 1935 to 1939, but resigned that office to be appointed U.S. Senator in 1939; he was then elected to the Senate in 1940 to fill out the term and he was re-elected in 1942. He served as governor of Kentucky again from 1955 to 1959. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Chandler resigned from the Senate to become Commissioner of Major League Baseball in 1945 and remained in that post to 1951; during his service in this office he oversaw the initial steps toward integration of the major leagues, beginning with the debut of Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. This move was controversial with some team owners and was credited by many in the sports community with Chandler's failure to be selected for another term as Commissioner after the expiry of his first one in 1951.

Chandler remained active in Kentucky politics long after his final term as governor ended. In his later life he often mounted quixotic campaigns to return to office, becoming something of a perennial candidate. Chandler lost in the 1963 Democratic primary for governor to Edward T. Breathitt and that was his final serious campaign. In 1968 George C. Wallace strongly considered Chandler as his running mate but instead chose General Curtis LeMay. Chandler ran weak campaigns for governor in 1967 and 1971, the latter as an Independent. Chandler is sometimes credited with having created the phrase, "I didn't leave the Democrat Party; the Democrat Party left me!"

Chandler was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. He died on June 15, 1991.

Chandler's grandson A. B. "Ben" Chandler was elected to statewide office three times (Auditor of Public Accounts in 1991 and Attorney General in 1995 and 1999), won the Democratic primary for governor in 2003 but lost in the general election to Ernie Fletcher, and was elected to Congress in 2004.

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Preceded by:
Kenesaw Mountain Landis
Commissioner of Baseball
1945–1951
Succeeded by:
Ford Frick

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Preceded by:
Ruby Laffoon
Governor of Kentucky
1935–1939
Succeeded by:
Keen Johnson
Preceded by:
Lawrence W. Wetherby
Governor of Kentucky
1955–1959
Succeeded by:
Bert T. Combs

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