this Sept. 26, 2014, file photo, Major League
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig speaks before a
baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the
Chicago Cubs in Milwaukee. Former commissioner Selig
and longtime general manager John Schuerholz have
been elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.
Schuerholz was picked by all 16 voters Sunday, Dec.
4, 2016, on a veterans committee at the winter
meetings. Selig was listed 15 times.
HILL, Md. — On the day he was put in charge of baseball
in 1992, Bud Selig said his new job was "hopefully
relatively short term."
if you're asking me what relatively short term means,
obviously this morning I don't know," he said.
power for more than 22 years, Selig oversaw a revolution
in baseball that included interleague play, the expansion
of the playoffs from four teams to eight and then 10,
dividing each league into three divisions with wild cards,
instituting video review to aid umpires, revenue sharing
to help small-market teams and 20 new big league
presided over the first cancellation of the World Series
in 90 years, an attempt to use replacement players for
striking big leaguers and the unchecked rise and later
crackdown on illegal steroids. He was head of baseball's
labor policy when owners were found to have conspired
against free agents.
imprint was recognized Sunday when the 82-year-old was
elected to the Hall of Fame by the Today's Game Era
were a sport resistant to change," he said. "I
believe in those years as commissioner, that's the most
change in baseball history."
became the fifth of the 10 commissioners voted to the
Hall, joining Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1920-44), Happy
Chandler (1945-51), Ford Frick (1951-65) and Bowie Kuhn
(1969-84). Every commissioner who has served at least five
years is in Cooperstown.
happy for him. I think it's deserved," said Fay
Vincent, the commissioner Selig helped force out. "I
think that after '94, Bud really got the point very
clearly. I think Bud realized in '94 there was no point in
trying to test the union anymore."
headed the group that purchased the Seattle Pilots in
bankruptcy court in 1970 and moved the team to Milwaukee.
A protege of Detroit owner John Fetzer, he became chairman
of the owners' Player Relations Committee in early 1980s
and directed strategy at a time owners were found to have
colluded against players during three offseasons, leading
teams to pay players a $280 million settlement.
by Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Selig was
appointed to the newly created position of chairman of
baseball's executive council two days after Vincent's
I didn't understand the dimension of the problems we that
we faced at that time," Selig said.
repeatedly said he never would become commissioner, but he
blocked Texas Rangers owner George W. Bush from taking the
job, leading Bush to run for governor of Texas and later
presiding over the strike and labor talks that led to an
agreement in 1997, Selig finally was elected commissioner
in July 1998 and accepted new contracts in 2001, 2004,
2008 and 2012. He announced in September 2013 that he
would retire in January 2015.
rose from about $1.7 billion in 1992 to just under $9
billion in his final season.
will go down in history as the No. 1 commissioner that has
served baseball, and without question," Peter
Ueberroth, baseball's commissioner in the late 1980s, said
as Selig's retirement approached.
repeatedly said baseball had been stuck with economic
rules designed when it was small business in the
early-to-mid 20th century.
were living in a system that was archaic, hadn't been
changed since what I call the Ebbets Field-Polo Grounds
days," he said. "There are a lot of small-market
clubs that would tell you today they wouldn't be in
attendance boomed until the Great Recession and many teams
helped start regional television networks, national TV
ratings declined for baseball along with most other
programming. Losing the 1994 World Series to a 7 1/2-month
players' strike and widespread use of
performance-enhancing drugs before the start of testing
with penalties in 2004 were low-points in his tenure.
it was terribly painful, broke my heart," he said of
losing the Series. "But it served I think as a great
lesson, and we took it."
labor deal announced Wednesday runs through 2021, ensuring
26 years of labor peace since the last strike.
use increased through the 1990s, culminating in offense
records that broke the season home run mark of Roger Maris
and the career standard of Hank Aaron. Many of the hitters
later were found to have used performance-enhancing drugs
to build muscle.
were not a baseball problem. Steroids are a societal
problem," Selig said. "For from a sport that
never had a testing program, we came a long ways."