Kuhn, 78, upbeat after bypass and more
Bowie Kuhn is home after heart surgery and planning to attend the home opener of Washington's new major league baseball team in April.
The 78-year-old former baseball commissioner had surgery Oct. 25 to repair a heart valve and bypass two arteries. He had another operation two days later to receive a pacemaker and was released Saturday from St. Luke's Hospital, Mayo Clinic, in Jacksonville, Fla.
"My doctor wants me to walk 60 minutes a day. I haven't quite made that, but I'm getting close," he said Tuesday by telephone from his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Kuhn said he began to feel heavy chest pressure during a visit to New York early last month. He went for tests Oct. 22.
"I've had an aortic valve problem all my life," he said. "It was just a matter of time, if I lived long enough, for them to give me a new one. I found out not only did I need a new aortic valve but I probably needed a couple of bypasses. They said, 'Either you do this or die.' "
Kuhn, commissioner from 1969 to 1984, said that he intentionally scheduled the operation for the off day during the World Series and that he was able to watch Game 3 the next night. The first operation took 4½ hours, and on Wednesday, doctors informed him he needed the pacemaker, requiring a 2-hour operation that day.
Commissioner Bud Selig called Kuhn and invited him and wife Luisa to attend the first major league game back in Washington -- on April 15, 2005. Baseball's schedule calls for the Expos, who plan to move to the capital, to play their home opener against Arizona at RFK Stadium.
Kuhn worked the hand-operated scoreboard in the early 1940s at Washington's Griffith Stadium during games of the original Senators.
"I remember the meeting in September 1971 when we moved the Senators," Selig said. "He tried desperately to find a buyer. It broke Bowie's heart. I've never seen anybody fight for a city the way he fought for Washington.
"I told him, 'I'd like you there, and we'll celebrate the return of baseball.' I also said, kiddingly, 'I don't know if I'd be able to get you a seat in the scoreboard to arrange numbers.' "
"You're the commissioner," Kuhn responded. "You ought to be able to arrange those things."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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