Leland Stanford “Larry” MacPhail, Sr. (February 3, 1890 – October 1, 1975) was an American lawyer and an executive and innovator in Major League Baseball. He served as an executive with several professional baseball teams, including the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees. MacPhail’s sons and grandsons were also sports executives. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.
MacPhail was born in Cass City, Michigan on February 3, 1890. His father founded State Savings Bank of Scottville, Michigan, in 1882 as well as twenty other small banks in that state. He obtained an LL.B. from the George Washington University Law School, where he became friends with Branch Rickey. He worked for a time with a Chicago law firm. Prior to World War I Larry MacPhail was an executive of a department store in Nashville, Tennessee.
During World War I, he served as an artillery captain in France and Belgium. He accompanied his commander, Colonel Luke Lea, on an unsanctioned mission to Amerongen in the Netherlands in January 1919 to attempt to arrest the exiled German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, and bring him to the Paris Peace Conference to be tried for war crimes.
From Act of Valor Award:
When America entered the World War, in 1917, MacPhail enlisted in the Army as a private, rose to the rank of captain and was wounded fighting in France. At the end of the war MacPhail, his commanding officer, Colonel Luke Lea, a former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, and several others tried to kidnap the former German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was living in exile in Holland. They almost were imprisoned themselves as they were unsuccessful in the attempt and barely got out with their lives.
MacPhail was back in the Army during World War II, doing public relations work for the War Department. His old mentor and sometime foe, Branch Rickey, replaced him at Brooklyn.
During World War I, MacPhail served as an artillery captain in France and Belgium. He accompanied his commander, Colonel Luke Lea, on an unsanctioned mission to Amerongen in the Netherlands in January 1919 to attempt to arrest the exiled German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, and bring him to the Paris Peace Conference to be tried for war crimes. MacPhail resigned as president of the Dodgers on September 23, 1942 to accept a commission in the United States Army. By the end of World War II, MacPhail held the rank of Colonel. Returning from the war, MacPhail served as president, co-owner and general manager for the New York Yankees.