A. Bartlett Giamatti, Seventh Commissioner of Baseball, Elected: 1988-89
A. Bartlett Giamatti was elected to a five-year term as baseball's seventh Commissioner on September 8, 1988 by a unanimous vote of the 26 club owners.
Born in Boston, MA on April 4, 1938, Giamatti attended Yale University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in English in 1960. Giamatti went on to receive a Ph.D. from Yale in Comparative Literature in 1964.
After receiving his doctorate, Giamatti taught Italian and Comparative Literature at Princeton University. He returned to Yale in 1966 when he joined the faculty as an assistant professor of English. He became a full professor in 1971 at the age of 33 and served as the director of the Division of Humanities from 1975 - 78.
He became president of Yale in July, 1978, and served ten years. After leaving that position he joined Major League Baseball and was named the 12th president of the National League on December 11, 1986.
In two years as NL President, Giamatti earned a reputation for preserving baseball's traditions, values and integrity. His presidency placed an emphasis on the need to improve the environment for the fan in the ballparks.
Giamatti has written many books, essays, articles and reviews on Renaissance Literature and baseball. His baseball writings include: "Tom Seaver's Farewell", Harper's Magazine (September 1977), which won the E.P. Dutton Best Magazine Sports story of the Year in 1977; "The Green Fields of the Mind", Yale Alumni Magazine and Journal (November 1977); "Recall, as the Series Ends, the Afternoon of the Fall", Hartford Courant (October 18, 1978); "Men of Baseball, Lend and Ear", New York Times (June 16, 1981); "A Magic Game and an End to Innocence", Boston Sunday Globe (April 7, 1985); "Baseball and the American Character", Harper's Magazine (October 1986); "A Ballpark is Freedom's Ring", Boston Globe Special Edition (October 6, 1986); Foreword to The Armchair Book of Baseball II (April 1987); "To Sports and Fans: Clean Up Your Act", The Boston Globe (July 20, 1987).
After being elected Commissioner, Giamatti created a deputy commissioner position and appointed Francis T. Vincent, Jr. to the post. Determined to maintain the integrity of the game during his commissionership, Giamatti entered into an agreement with Cincinnati manager and baseball's all-time hit leader Pete Rose that was tantamount to a lifetime suspension on August 23, 1989. The agreement came after a lengthy investigation and court battle regarding gambling by Rose.
On September 1, 1989, Giamatti died of a heart attack at his summer home in Martha's Vineyard, MA.