Allan Huber "Bud" Selig (born July 30, 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is the current Commissioner of Baseball, having been formally appointed on July 2, 1998 after having served as acting commissioner since 1992. He was previously the team owner and administrator of the Milwaukee Brewers. On August 21, 2004, Selig's contract was extended for three years by Major League Baseball, extending his term to December 31, 2007. Selig is a resident of Milwaukee and owned used car dealerships before entering baseball.
Born in Milwaukee, Selig played baseball as a child but quit because he was unable to hit a curveball. Selig received a bachelor's degree in American History and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1956. After serving two years in the armed forces, Selig returned to Milwaukee and began working in the automobile business with his father.
As a young man, Selig watched the old Milwaukee Brewers minor league team and the Chicago Cubs of the National League. Bud soon became a Braves fan when the National League franchise moved to his home town of Milwaukee from Boston in 1953. Selig was heartbroken and devastated when he learned that the Braves were going to leave Milwaukee in favor of Atlanta. Prior to 1965, when the Braves left Milwaukee, Selig became the team's largest public stockholder.
Milwaukee Brewers owner
Selig vowed to return Major League Baseball to Milwaukee shortly after the Braves left. He started his quest by founding the organization "Teams, Inc." The group, which later changed its name to "The Brewers", arranged for several Chicago White Sox games to be played in Milwaukee in 1968. Selig went as far as attempting to purhase the White Sox (with the intention of moving them to Milwaukee) in 1969.
In 1970 he responded to the 1965 departure of the Milwaukee Braves to Atlanta by purchasing the bankrupt Seattle Pilots franchise, moving them to his hometown and renaming the team the Milwaukee Brewers.
During Selig's tenure as club president, the Brewers appeared in the 1982 World Series (under the leadership of future Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor) but have failed to make another appearance in the series. Under Selig's watch, the Brewers also won seven "Organization of the Year" awards.
Upon his assumption of the Commissioner's role, Selig transferred his ownership interest in the Brewers to his daughter Wendy Selig-Prieb in order to remove any technical conflicts of interest, though it was widely presumed he maintained some hand in team operations. Although the team has been sold to Los Angeles investor Mark Attanasio, questions remain regarding Selig's past involvement.
Actions as Commissioner
While hailed by some baseball's owners as a visionary who has salvaged the sport, he is vilified by many fans and some in the media, primarily for labor-related issues but also for considering changes that have met with disfavor, particularly placing advertising on player uniforms and on the field.
As Executive Council Chairman (Selig's official title while serving as "acting commissioner" from 1992-1998) and Commissioner, new stadiums have opened in Arizona, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Arlington. In 2002, Selig announced that he would start enforcing the 60/40 rule (asset/debt ratio) despite his Brewers being at 100/97 just five years before. Under Selig, Major League Baseball also saw the consolidation of the administrative functions of the American and National League into the Commissioner's Office in 2000. The last official presidents of the NL and AL were Leonard Coleman and Dr. Gene Budig respectively.
Selig suspended Marge Schott for a year in 1993 for repeated prejudicial remarks and actions. The same year George Steinbrenner was reinstated from a lifelong suspension that was instituted by Selig's predecessor Fay Vincent. Pete Rose has claimed that he applied for reinstatement over the years and received no such consideration. Incidentally, Bud Selig was a close friend of the late Bart Giamatti, who was the commissoner when Rose first got banned from baseball in 1989.
As acting commissioner, he presided over the 1994 players strike and resulting cancellation of the World Series (the first time it had not been staged since 1904). Ever since the days of the 1994 work stoppage, some fans have accused Selig of being little more than a puppet for the owners rather than a true leader.
During his tenure the game avoided a second work stoppage in 2002, seen the implementation of interleague play, divisional realignment (oddly enough, the subject that resulted in the ouster of Selig's predecessor Fay Vincent), and the addition of a third round of post-season play.
On September 11, 2001, Selig ordered all baseball games postponed for a week because of the terror attacks on New York and Washington. The games were postponed not only out of respect and mourning for the victims, but also out of concern for the safety and security of fans and players.
Selig was heavily criticized for staging contraction hearings on the Minnesota Twins and the Montréal Expos less than 48 hours after the dramatic conclusion of the 2001 World Series. This action, among others, led to Selig (along with former Expos owner Jeffrey Loria) being charged with racketeering and conspiring with Loria to deliberately defraud the Expos minority owners. If found guilty the league could have been liable for $300 million in punitive damages. Selig was eager to settle the case because the judge had previously ruled that the Expos could not be moved or contracted until the case was over. The case eventually went to arbitration and was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
An embarrassing moment during Bud Selig's tenure came during the 2002 All-Star Game in Selig's hometown of Milwaukee. The game was tied 7-7 in the bottom of the 11th inning. Unfortunately, the managers ran out of fresh players, and Selig felt that he had no option other than to call the game a tie. In the aftermath of the fiasco, Major League Baseball decided to create the stipulation that the winning league of the All-Star Game would gain home-field advantage for that year's World Series.
In 2005, he faced Congress on the issue of steroids, saying that he only became aware of this problem in 1998 around the time of Mark McGwire's home run record. However, per ESPN, he forgot that MLB and the owners had a meeting about this issue as far back as 1993. He also implied that the MLBPA was the real culprit to any steroid use reform. Since the Congressional hearings in early 2005, Selig has put forth a much more strict proposal for steroid testing to replace the current system. This proposal also makes Selig the first major sports commissioner to propose the banning of amphetamines, which, some say, are more of a problem in baseball than steroids themselves.
On July 1, 2005, Selig suspended Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers for 20 games and fined him $50,000. Rogers got in trouble when on June 29, 2005, he angrily shoved two cameramen, knocking a camera to the ground. One of the reporters then resumed filming and Rogers shoved him again, this time kicking the camera after it had been knocked to the ground a second time. While an appeal of his suspension was pending, Rogers appeared at the 2005 All-Star Game in Detroit, where fans loudly booed him. On July 22, 2005, Selig heard Rogers' appeal of his suspension; on July 27, Selig upheld the suspension.
In August 2005, Selig came under fire by Boston Red Sox pitcher David Wells. Wells lashed out at Selig after losing an appeal of a six-game suspension, saying the that Selig "isn't doing a thing" about steroids. Wells, who called Selig an "idiot" in a spring training interview with the Hartford Courant, accused Selig of retaliating for his past comments in handing out the latest suspension. Wells has since apologized to Selig.
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- "Bud Selig: A baseball hero. Really." - Nicholas Thompson, Slate.com, May 5, 2005
- Baseball Almanac bio
- What has been Bud Selig's worst act as commissioner?
- What Bud Selig Is Doing Right
- An open letter to Bud Selig
- The Call for the Removal of Bud Selig as Commissioner of Baseball
- Selig elected Commissioner in unanimous vote
- Selig's role in the deliberate destruction of the Montreal Expos