COMMISSIONER SELIG TO RETIRE IN JANUARY 2015
Baseball’s Ninth Commissioner Has Led MLB to Unprecedented Labor Peace and Prosperity
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig formally announced today that he will retire upon the completion of his current term, which runs through January 24, 2015.
Commissioner Selig said: “It remains my great privilege to serve the game I have loved throughout my life. Baseball is the greatest game ever invented, and I look forward to continuing its extraordinary growth and addressing several significant issues during the remainder of my term.
“I am grateful to the owners throughout Major League Baseball for their unwavering support and for allowing me to lead this great institution. I thank our players, who give me unlimited enthusiasm about the future of our game. Together we have taken this sport to new heights and have positioned our national pastime to thrive for generations to come. Most of all, I would like to thank our fans, who are the heart and soul of our game.”
Commissioner Selig will announce shortly a transition plan in preparation for his retirement, which will reorganize centralized Major League Baseball management.
Selig has led Major League Baseball since September 9, 1992, when, as Chairman of the Major League Executive Council, he became interim Commissioner. He was unanimously elected Baseball’s ninth Commissioner on July 9, 1998.
QUOTES ON COMMISSIONER SELIG
Hall of Famer Hank Aaron: “Bud understands how to get things done in this game, and his record speaks for itself – especially in helping the small markets like the one where he and I first met more than 60 years ago. When he retires, he will leave our game in a far better state than when he started. The Commissioner has been a marvelous leader for Baseball. I am so proud of all that my friend has done for the game we love.”
Brewers Chairman & Principal Owner Mark Attanasio: “There would be no Major League Baseball in Milwaukee without Bud Selig, and there very well might be no Major League Baseball in many of our smaller cities without the economic changes instituted by Commissioner Selig. Teams from small and midsize cities can compete as a result of his innovations and the expanded Postseason. Equally important, the Commissioner has championed diversity issues to ensure equal opportunity to participate in the national pastime.
“Personally, I have relied on the Commissioner’s wisdom, guidance and experience for nine years. I appreciate the wonderful example Bud has set by giving back to what he loves – the Wisconsin community, the country and the game of Baseball – and by working tirelessly and passionately to promote the best interests of the game for everyone.”
Braves Chairman Emeritus Bill Bartholomay: “Bud Selig is an inspirational leader. As Commissioner, he has led changes that have brought all of Major League Baseball to a new level of support as America’s Game. The labor peace we enjoy today was once a distant dream for this sport. On the field, every club has a chance to win. Success is no longer driven by the size of the payroll but by sound planning and decision-making. I have the utmost respect for the manner in which the Commissioner has celebrated the legacy of Jackie Robinson for a new generation and how he has prioritized diversity through initiatives like the Civil Rights Game.”
Cardinals Principal Owner, Chairman & CEO Bill DeWitt: “Bud Selig’s impact on baseball during his tenure as Commissioner has been nothing short of historic. His leadership and initiatives have led to heightened competitive balance, record attendance and revenues, new ballparks, and an era of labor peace unimaginable in the prior generation. Bud’s vision has also been responsible for the tremendous success stories of BAM and MLB Network. And his understanding and belief in Baseball’s place and responsibility in society has made a significant impact on diversity in the game and programs like Stand Up To Cancer and Welcome Back Veterans. Baseball has indeed been fortunate to have had Bud Selig as Commissioner over the past 21 years.”
Mariners Chairman Emeritus John Ellis: “I became a part of the Seattle Mariners in the same year that Bud Selig became the leader of the game. In a way, our franchise exemplifies the growth of Major League Baseball over the two decades of his tenure. Whereas the Mariners once faced an uncertain future, we have now secured Major League Baseball in the Pacific Northwest, at a ballpark beloved in its community, for a generation to come. Throughout the landscape, other Clubs have flourished, just like we have. Our game as a whole has been united under Commissioner Selig’s guidance.”
Royals Chairman/Owner David Glass: “Since Bud has been Commissioner, he has made a great impact on both the economics and the integrity of the game. His vision for the formation of MLB Advanced Media ought to be remembered as one of the most forward-thinking decisions our industry has ever known. I believe his legacy is unparalleled in professional sports.”
Historian & Author Doris Kearns Goodwin: “Generations from now students of Baseball will look back with wonder at the astonishing number of significant reforms instituted under Bud Selig’s leadership as Commissioner. The combination of an expanded Postseason and Wild Card berths has resulted in more teams playing October baseball than ever before, keeping the interest of millions of fans alive when summer turns to fall. At the same time, revenue sharing and the competitive balance tax have provided greater opportunity for lower-payroll teams to reach the Postseason, thus broadening the number of cities still actively involved with baseball when the leaves begin to turn. This means that when Spring Training begins, more fans in more cities can now realistically hope that their beloved team has a good chance to carry their dreams all the way to the end of the season. And what this has done to keep the heart of Baseball alive is simply immeasurable.”
Senator George Mitchell: “Commissioner Selig took bold action by personally choosing to initiate an independent examination of the sport. I believe that difficult step allowed Baseball to chart its future course with vigor, precision and transparency. When the Commissioner asked me to conduct that examination, he pledged his full support and my complete independence, even though neither he nor I could then know what I would eventually find and report. He kept his word and never wavered from that commitment. In the years since I issued the report, I have been pleased that the Commissioner has brought Baseball to a leadership stature on the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in sports and to an example that now stands out as worthy of emulation.
“In addition, Commissioner Selig’s economic reforms have corrected the chronic problems of competitive imbalance that once existed. The standings in recent years are a testament to a new era of hope in all of the game’s markets and for fans of all Clubs.”
Braves Chairman & CEO Terence McGuirk: “Under Bud Selig’s watch, MLB has expanded its offerings to reach millions of fans through new forms of media. As the Internet matured in the ’90s, the Commissioner recognized the emergence of digital media and created MLBAM, the most successful sports site on the web. Later his vision led to the creation of MLB Network, now seen in over 70 million homes. And recently, he concluded an eight-year, $12 billion national rights renewal with FOX, ESPN and Turner, which more than doubled the yearly rights fees. By almost every measure, MLB’s media assets have grown and prospered under Commissioner Selig’s vision.”
Hall of Famer Paul Molitor: “Commissioner Selig achieved his primary objective. The game is far better off now than what it was when he took over. It was not an easy task, given some of the issues that he needed to tackle and resolve, but he displayed leadership and earned the respect of players, owners and fans. Well done.”
Rockies Owner/Chairman & CEO Dick Monfort: “History will remember that during his more than 20 years as the Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig’s vision for our game has become a reality. With integrity, passion and the courage to make the tough decisions for the good of Baseball, Bud has moved the game to new heights and into a new era – more playoff rounds, Interleague play, the World Baseball Classic, the honoring of Jackie Robinson and MLB Network, to name just a few of his notable accomplishments. His positive impact on the people that play, manage, work and cheer for Baseball will be remembered forever.”
Phillies General Partner, President & CEO David Montgomery: “Baseball has been led by five Commissioners in my 40-plus years with the Phillies and I have seen firsthand the complexities and demands of the position. I have unwavering admiration for Commissioner Selig’s many years of service to Baseball and his track record of achievement. He is a gifted leader who compelled this industry to modernize in the ways that fans wanted. The combination of his leadership skills and love of our game make him an outstanding Commissioner.”
Twins CEO Jim Pohlad: “Using his unique perspective, most importantly a love for the game of Baseball and its history, Commissioner Selig has guided Major League Baseball into the modern era. He has reawakened Baseball’s social conscience and relevance during dramatically challenging times. Through a combination of diplomacy, consensus-building, vision and passion, the Commissioner has achieved an unprecedented level of business success and harmony for Major League Baseball. I believe Bud will be remembered as the quintessential sports commissioner.”
White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf: “When you step back and view the dramatic transformation Major League Baseball has undergone during Bud Selig’s tenure as Commissioner, it is truly quite astounding. A social institution with a long and rich history like Baseball is often very resistant and slow to change, yet Commissioner Selig has introduced dramatic, sweeping innovations to improve the game like expanded playoffs, comprehensive drug testing and competitive balance. These changes have left a lasting impact on Baseball, most importantly for the fans of this great game. At his heart, Bud is a baseball fan, and that perspective has driven all he has done during his time as Commissioner. That is his legacy.”
Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.: “I have had the pleasure of knowing Commissioner Selig for many years – in fact, before he was ‘Commissioner’ Selig. Bud has done tremendous things for Baseball over the last two decades and anyone who knows him understands the passion for and his love of the game that he brings to the job. His ideas and innovation have vaulted Baseball’s popularity and his resolve to maintain the game’s integrity are things that many of us will remember about his tenure.”
Hall of Famer Frank Robinson: “Commissioner Selig afforded me the opportunity to return to managing and to contribute to Major League Baseball as a part of his executive staff. The game has come a long way under the Commissioner’s leadership, and he deserves the credit for making changes when we needed them. I look forward to his joining me in Cooperstown one day as a reward for everything he’s done for Baseball.”
Official Historian of Major League Baseball John Thorn: “No Commissioner has faced greater challenges in defending and growing the game, not even Judge Landis. Commissioner Selig has this unbiased observer’s vote as the greatest of all the game’s chief executives.”
Brewers Broadcaster and 2003 Ford C. Frick Award Winner Bob Uecker: “Bud has always been a great friend to me. Ever since he brought me to the Brewers, he and his family have meant very much to me. He let me do what I love and allowed me to pursue my dreams. He’s the best Commissioner in my time. He made such huge changes to the game, and in the end, all of them proved to be best for Baseball.”
Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner: “I consider myself extremely fortunate to have known Commissioner Selig since I entered Baseball in 1990. When he became the ninth Commissioner, Baseball emerged from some relatively chaotic days due to his long-term vision for the game. By every barometer of success, Baseball is at this unprecedented level of prosperity and competitive balance because of his leadership. Most importantly, the Commissioner has never stopped reminding us of the profound impact that Clubs can have on our communities. Commissioner Selig’s emphasis on social responsibility has truly led us to live up to our billing as the national pastime.”
Journalist & Author George F. Will: “Bud Selig, together with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, has had one of Baseball’s three most consequential careers. Since 1992, Baseball has gained 20 new ballparks, Interleague Play, realignment of the leagues into three divisions, two Wild Cards that have multiplied the number of meaningful games played in September, and a prudent embrace of technologies. Furthermore, MLB’s transformed economic model has produced competitive balance unprecedented in Major League history and unmatched in other professional sports leagues. The game’s robust attendance figures testify to all these improvements. As was said of the architect Christopher Wren, if you seek Bud’s monument, just look around.”
Mets Chairman & CEO Fred Wilpon: “For 33 years, Bud and I have been partners in Baseball, first as fellow owners and then under his outstanding leadership. When the future of our game looked stagnant, Bud’s reforms modernized the industry on and off the field – to the great benefit of the sport and its fans. When Bud became Commissioner, he asked to be judged on the basis of franchise values. I think I speak for all owners when I say that his Commissionership has been a great success as demonstrated by the valuations we enjoy today.”
Athletics Managing Partner Lewis Wolff: “Buddy honors Baseball every waking moment. Buddy has preserved, shaped and prepared all of us for the future of Major League Baseball, and he has done so driven by the same love of the game he’s had all his life. He combines exceptional leadership with the kind of passion that millions of fans around the world feel for our national pastime, and his contributions to the game will be remembered forever.”
Hall of Famer Robin Yount: “Commissioner Selig was a father figure to me and my teammates, and he stuck by us through it all, in good times and bad. He used to pace the stands at County Stadium when we were on the field, which showed how much he cared. He’s had that same mindset about the entire sport for the last 21 years, and he helped the game overcome some enormous challenges. As a game and as an industry, Baseball has never been better than under Commissioner Selig’s leadership.”
THE GROWTH OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF COMMISSIONER SELIG
Under his leadership, Commissioner Selig has guided the industry to:
Unprecedented Labor Peace – For a period of at least 21 years, from 1995 through expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2016, Selig will have led MLB to the game’s longest period of uninterrupted play since the inception of the collective bargaining relationship;
Significant Economic Reform – During his tenure, Selig has overseen historic economic growth, returning the sport to profitability while implementing fiscal reforms such as the debt-service rule, landmark revenue sharing amongst the 30 Clubs, and a competitive balance tax on the highest spending clubs. In 1992, when Selig assumed leadership of the game, total industry revenues were at $1.2 billion; by 2012, revenues had grown more than 600 percent to a record total $7.5 billion;
Competitive Balance Enhancements – Competitive balance has improved dramatically during Selig’s tenure because of the historic economic reforms as well as the significant changes to the amateur talent acquisition process. These efforts have resulted in nine different Clubs winning the last 12 World Series and 26 of the 30 Clubs participating in the Postseason over the last decade, despite what remains the most exclusive playoff structure in sports;
Increased Popularity of the Game – Throughout the past decade, Major League Baseball’s attendance will have featured all 10 of the best-attended individual seasons in Baseball history, in large part because of the fan-friendly innovations that Selig adopted. During this time, Selig expanded the Postseason format, effective first in 1995 and again in 2012; instituted Interleague Play in 1997; and created the Wild Card playoff berths, which have allowed more fans to experience the excitement of pennant chases and October baseball;
The Most Comprehensive Drug Program in Pro Sports – Selig implemented the most comprehensive and aggressive Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in professional sports via collective bargaining, including random, in-season blood testing for human Growth Hormone among Major League Players and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world. A cornerstone of the program is unparalleled transparency on the issue of performance-enhancing drugs, starting with the independent Mitchell Report in 2007; continuing with the establishment of MLB’s Department of Investigations in 2008 and the public announcements of substances that resulted in positive tests under the drug program; and culminating in the recent discipline stemming from the Biogenesis investigation;
Record Franchise Values – Selig has guided the industry to record franchise values, which have been evident in the recent sales of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers, the San Diego Padres, the Houston Astros and other Clubs;
The Foundings of MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network – During Selig’s tenure, he has presided over the modernization of MLB’s reach online via the establishment of MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) in January 2000; on television through MLB Network, which had a record launch in cable television history in 2009; and in existing and emerging global markets via the World Baseball Classic, a tournament in partnership with the Major League Baseball Players Association that celebrates the international growth of the sport;
Wide-Ranging Social Responsibility – Under his direction, Selig has mandated that MLB assume the highest social responsibilities in a wide variety of ways, with philanthropy and corporate citizenship now core values of Major League Baseball. Selig has honored the legacy of the man responsible for “Baseball’s proudest and most powerful moment,” Jackie Robinson, by taking the unprecedented step of retiring his number 42 league-wide in 1997, and, since 2004, officially designating each April 15th – the anniversary of his historic debut – as Jackie Robinson Day. Commissioner Selig also led MLB to become a founding donor of Stand Up To Cancer in 2008. MLB, its 30 Clubs and its partners have donated more than $35 million to SU2C, funding groundbreaking translational research that delivers new therapies to those who fight cancer. Among others, MLB also has supported Welcome Back Veterans and the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Program.