ARLINGTON, TX - Baseball commissioner Bud Selig presents Ken Griffey Jr. with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award prior to  the 2011 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Hide Caption
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig poses with Barry Larkin at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 22, 2012. Also pictured are Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson and chairman Jane Forbes Clark. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Hide Caption

Bud Selig: Baseball commissioner says he will retire in January 2015

a a a a
Share this story

NEW YORK - Bud Selig said Thursday he plans to retire as baseball commissioner in January 2015 after a term of more than 22 years marked by robust growth in attendance and revenue along with a canceled World Series and a drug scandal.

The 79-year-old Selig said in 2003 that he would retire in 2006 but has repeatedly accepted new contracts.

Some owners — even his wife — have been skeptical in the past that he really would do it, but this marked the first time he issued a formal statement that he intends to step down from the sport's top job.

"I look forward to continuing its extraordinary growth and addressing several significant issues during the remainder of my term," he said.

Selig said he will soon announce a transition plan that will include a reorganization of central baseball management.

He said he will leave on Jan. 24, 2015, which would mark the second-longest term for a baseball commissioner behind Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who served from November 1920 to November 1944.

Reds fans felt Selig's impact most notably in regards to Pete Rose and Marge Schott.

Selig has steadfastly refused to reinstate Rose, who was banned from baseball for gambling on games in 1989 by late commissioner Bart Giamatti.

Selig suspended Schott, the former Reds owner, for a year in 1993 for repeated racial remarks and actions.

Selig visited Cincinnati earlier this year to announce that the Reds would host the 2015 All-Star Game.

Selig's tenure included splitting each league into three divisions instead of two, adding wild cards and additional rounds of playoffs, expansion to Arizona and Tampa Bay, instituting instant replay, starting the World Baseball Classic, launching the Major League Baseball Network and centralizing the sport's digital rights under MLB.com.

"The game has grown under him tremendously. He's made every effort to try to clean the game up," New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's left his mark on the game. There's no doubt about it."

Selig bought the Seattle Pilots in bankruptcy court in 1970 and moved the team to Milwaukee. He became a leading owner by the early 1980s in his role as chairman of the Player Relations Committee, which determined labor policy.

He was part of the group that forced Fay Vincent's resignation and took over as acting commissioner on Sept. 9, 1992, in his role as chairman of the executive council.

While he presided over a 7½-month strike in 1994-95 that led to the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years, MLB and its players have had labor peace since.

Although he repeatedly said he would not take the job full time, he was formally elected commissioner July 9, 1998. He turned running the Brewers over to his daughter Wendy, but the Selig family did not sell the franchise until 2005.

Selig agreed to a new contract in 2001. He first announced his planned retirement in 2003, telling a group from Associated Press Sports Editors he would leave when his current term expired at the end of 2006.

"For a guy who took it in Sept. 9, 1992, and I told my wife it was two-to-four months — 14 years later ... I think that will be enough. There's no question, because there are other things I really would like to do."

Asked again if this was his final term, Selig responded; "Oh, there's no question."

He then agreed to new contracts in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

Selig was at the helm while baseball was criticized for being slow to react to the rise of performance-enhancing drugs. Management didn't have a drug agreement with its players from October 1985 until August 2002, and drug testing with penalties didn't start until 2004. Selig has repeatedly defended his record, saying baseball acted as fast as it could in a matter that was subject to bargaining with players.

Owners have repeatedly praised his financial stewardship, which has led to record franchise values as shown by the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. MLB revenues, which totaled $1.7 billion in 1992, are projected to top $8 billion this year, and the average player salary has tripled under his tenure to more than $3 million.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Sports News
Reds put worst start in two decades behind them
Reds put worst start in two decades behind them

Although the Reds are three games under .500, Cincinnati's season is just getting started.

Chad Johnson hopes to make comeback in Canada
Chad Johnson hopes to make comeback in Canada

Former Bengals star Chad Johnson will make his return to the gridiron with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Cyclones' begin push to 'take back the cup'
Cyclones' begin push to 'take back the cup'

The Cincinnati Cyclones' postseason march to the Kelly Cup begins Thursday night in Orlando.

Fired AD gets prison for stealing $311K from NKU
Fired AD gets prison for stealing $311K from NKU

The former Northern Kentucky University athletic director accused of stealing $311,215 in university funds has agreed to serve 10 years in…

Cueto shuts out Pirates in Reds' 4-0 victory
Cueto shuts out Pirates in Reds' 4-0 victory

Johnny Cueto struck out 12 and Joey Votto smacked a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

'Hefty Lefty' weighs in on NCAA ruling on food
'Hefty Lefty' weighs in on NCAA ruling on food

The former NFL and University of Kentucky quarterback playfully referred to as "Hefty Lefty" is having a little fun on social media…

Leake's HR leads Reds over Pirates 7-5 for split
Leake's HR leads Reds over Pirates 7-5 for split

Pitcher Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night after the Pirates won the completion of Monday's suspended game.

Cincinnati Reds honor Jackie Robinson
Cincinnati Reds honor Jackie Robinson

The Cincinnati Reds joined the rest of the MLB in honoring Jackie Robinson on Tuesday.

Aroldis Chapman takes big step toward comeback
Aroldis Chapman takes big step toward comeback

"Everything was great," Reds closer Aroldis Chapman said after he threw off a mound for the first time since he was hit in the face…

Reditorial Cartoon: The Billy Hamilton model
Reditorial Cartoon: The Billy Hamilton model

Billy Hamilton finally showed a burst of greatness, but not after a little bit of a warm up.