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Bud Selig

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Bud Selig

Allan Huber "Bud" Selig, Jr. (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, at which point he plans to retire [1]. Selig is a resident of Milwaukee and owned used car dealerships before entering baseball.

Early lifeEdit

Bud Selig was born in Milwaukee to parents of European Jewish ancestry. He 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. While at the University of Wisconsin, he became a member of Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity. 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 became the team's largest public stockholder. Selig was heartbroken and devastated when he learned that the Braves were going to leave Milwaukee in favor of Atlanta. In 1965, when the Braves left Milwaukee, he divested his stock in the team.

Milwaukee Brewers ownerEdit

{{see also No longer "Home of the Braves"}}

As a minority owner of the Milwaukee Braves, Selig founded the organization Teams, Inc, in an attempt to prevent the majority owners (based out of Chicago) from moving the club to a larger television market. When his quest to keep the team in Milwaukee finally failed after the 1965 season, he changed the group's name to Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, Inc., after the minor league baseball team he grew up watching, and devoted himself to returning Major League Baseball to Milwaukee.

Selig arranged for major league games to be played at the now-vacant Milwaukee County Stadium. The first, a pre-season match between the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins, drew more than 51,000 spectators. Selig followed this up by hosting nine White Sox regular-season games in 1968 and eleven 1969. Those Milwaukee "home" games were phenominally successful, with the handful of games accounting for about one-third of total White Sox home attendance. Clearly, Milwaukee was hungry for baseball.

To satisy that fanbase, Selig decided to purchase the White Sox (with the intention of moving them to Milwaukee) in 1969. He entered into an agreement to buy the club, but the American League vetoed the sale, preferring to keep an American League team in Chicago to compete with the crosstown Cubs. Selig turned his attention to other franchises.

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 officially 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 postseason since. 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. Selig's defenders point to the poor management of the team after Selig-Prieb took control as proof that Selig was not working behind the scenes.

Selig has long been considered a hero by baseball fans in Milwaukee, and while such enthusiasm ebbed somewhat during the failed management term of his daughter, Selig is still recognized for all that he as done for baseball and its presence in Milwaukee. In particular, Selig is famous for his lunches at Gilles Frozen Custard, a well-known hotdog and custard stand not far from Miller Park in Milwaukee. He is also rumored to drink close to a dozen Diet Cokes per day.

Acting CommissionerEdit

Hailed by some baseball's owners as a visionary who has salvaged the sport, others have vilified Selig. His first major achievement was to institute the Wild Card and divisional playoff play—a controversial move amongst traditionalists but one that has proven to pass the test of time, as fans have enjoyed thrilling playoff series that would not have otherwise been possible, like those between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

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, Arlington and St. Louis. In 2002. Selig also began enforcing the 60/40 rule (asset/debt ratio). Whereas in the past, the National and American Leagues had separate administrative organizations (which, for example, allowed for the introduction of different rules such as the designated hitter), under Selig, Major League Baseball consolidated 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. It should be noted, that Rose along with his close friend and former teammate Mike Schmidt (who is a strong supporter of Rose's reinstatement into baseball), met with Selig in 2002, where Rose privately admitted to Selig (two years before going public with his admission) about betting on baseball. Incidentally, Bud Selig was a close friend of the late Bart Giamatti, who was the commissioner when Rose was first banned from the sport 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). Since then, some fans have accused Selig of being little more than a puppet for the owners rather than a true leader. Notably, the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and National Football League (NFL) commissioners have always been considered primarily as advocates for the league owners who elect them and who they are answerable to. Some have argued that Selig's role as the first clearly pro-owner commissioner has led directly to MLB's ability to institute changes and bargain strongly with the Players Association in a way that was never possible before.

CommissionerEdit

During his tenure the game avoided a second work stoppage in 2002, and has 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 for Selig occurred 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 recent custom of allowing each player appearance time meant that the managers had used their entire rosters. To avoid risking the arms of the pitchers who were currently on the mound, Selig declared the game a tie, to the dissatisfaction of the Milwaukee fans. Since then, Selig has tried to reinvigorate the All-Star Game, most notably by awarding the winning league home-field advantage in the World Series. The 2003 All-Star Game had the same U.S. viewership as 2002 (9.5 rating; 17 share) and the ratings declined in 2004 (8.8 rating; 15 share) and 2005 (8.1 rating; 14 share) [2]. The American television audience increased in 2006 (9.3 rating; 16 share) [3].

In 2005, he faced U.S. Congress on the issue of Anabolic steroids. 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 purposely grabbed the camera of a cameraman, resulting in one camera falling to the ground. When the cameraman proceeded to pick up his camera, Rogers went back to him in an arguably threatening way. One of the reporters then resumed filming and Rogers smiled and talked to him. 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 allowed Rogers to return to the game.

On December 1, 2006, Selig announced that he would be retiring as commissioner of baseball upon the expiration of his contract in 2009.

The Barry Bonds IssueEdit

Template:Mainarticle In early 2006, Selig was forced to deal with the issue of slugger Barry Bonds's steroid use. In Game of Shadows, co-authors Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada allege that Bonds has been a steroid-abusing cheat. Still, Bonds has not admitted steroid use and has never tested positive for banned substances.

On March 30, 2006, Selig asked former senator George J. Mitchell to lead an independent investigation into the use of steroids in baseball's recent past.

With Bonds passing Babe Ruth's mark of 714 career home runs and closing in on Hank Aaron's all-time record of 755, Selig faces difficult decisions.

Notable changes to Major League BaseballEdit

Bud Selig helped introduce the following changes to Major League Baseball:

External links Edit

Preceded by:
Fay Vincent
Commissioner of Baseball
1992-2009
Succeeded by:
Incumbent

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