Byron Bancroft "Ban" Johnson (January 5, 1865 – March 28, 1931), was an American executive in professional baseball who served as the founder and first president of the American League (AL).
Johnson developed the AL—a descendant of the minor league Western League—into a "clean" alternative to the National League, which had become notorious for its rough-and-tumble atmosphere. To encourage a more orderly environment, Johnson strongly supported the new league's umpires, which eventually included Hall of Famer Billy Evans.
With the help of league owners and managers such as Charles Comiskey, Charles Somers and Jimmy McAleer, Johnson lured top talent to the AL, which soon rivaled the more established National League. Johnson dominated the AL until the mid-1920s, when a public dispute with Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis culminated in his forced resignation as league president.
By Dean Hanley
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