As a Wabash Railroad ticket agent, Harridge handled travel arrangements for the AL until Ban Johnson hired him as his private secretary, a position he held from 1911 to 1927. When Johnson resigned as AL president, Harridge became league secretary. When Johnson’s successor, E.S. Barnard, died in 1931, Harridge became the third AL president.
Softspoken, reserved, and iron-willed, he remained for 28 years. He avoided the spotlight, preferring to handle league matters discreetly behind closed doors. He always said his most difficult moment came in 1931 when he fined Yankees catcher Bill Dickey $1,000 and suspended him for 30 days during a hot pennant race. Dickey had slugged White Sox outfielder Carl Reynolds and broke his jaw in an unprovoked attack.
Although Harridge advocated the establishment of an annual All-Star Game, which began in 1933, he generally supported the status quo in baseball. He originally opposed night baseball. He was persuaded during WWII that night games enabled more families to attend games, and he became a supporter of baseball under lights. After retiring as league president in 1958, he served as chairman of the board until his death in 1971. In 1972, he was elected to the Hall of Fame.