Allan Huber "Bud" Selig (born July 30, 1934) is the ninth and current Commissioner of Major League Baseball, having served in that capacity since 1992 as the acting commissioner, and as the official commissioner since 1998. Selig oversaw baseball through the 1994 strike, the introduction of the wild card, interleague play, and the merging of the National and American leagues under the Office of the Commissioner. He was instrumental in organizing the World Baseball Classic in 2006. Selig also introduced revenue sharing. He is credited for the financial turnaround of baseball during his tenure with a 400 percent increase in the revenue of MLB and annual record breaking attendance. Selig enjoys a high level of support from baseball owners, but has been widely decried by both the MLB Players' Union for his policies and by the general public for presiding over the game during one of its most contentious periods. Jerome Holtzman, Major League Baseball's official historian from 1999 until his passing in 2008, believed that Selig was the best commissioner in baseball history.
During Selig's term of service, the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs became a public issue. The Mitchell Report, commissioned by Selig, concluded that the MLB commissioners, club officials, the Players Association, and the players all share "to some extent in the responsibility for the steroid era." Following the release of the Mitchell Report, Congressman Cliff Stearns called publicly for Selig to step down as commissioner, citing his "glacial response" to the "growing stain on baseball." Selig has pledged on numerous occasions to rid baseball of performance enhancing drugs, and has overseen and instituted many rule changes and penalties to that end.
Selig was previously the team owner and team president of the Milwaukee Brewers. As a Milwaukee native, he is credited for keeping baseball in Milwaukee. In 1970, he purchased the Seattle Pilots in bankruptcy court and renamed them the Milwaukee Brewers after a minor league team he had watched in his youth. The Brewers went to the 1982 World Series and won seven organization of the year awards during his tenure. Selig remains a resident of Milwaukee.
On January 17, 2008, Selig's contract was extended by the MLB through 2012, at which point he plans to retire.
Selig was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up in a Jewish family. His father, Ben Selig, had come to the United States from Romania when he was four years old. He was a hard-working, ingratiating man who believed strongly in the value of education. Selig graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in American history and political science in 1956. He served two years in the U.S. Army before working with his father who owned a car leasing business in Milwaukee. Selig continues to be involved in the automotive industry, serving as president of the Selig Executive Lease Company.
Sr Ben Selig, however, had little interest in baseball. Young Bud's interest came from his mother. Herself an immigrant from the Ukraine, Marie Selig attended college, a rare accomplishment for a woman in the early twentieth century, and become a school teacher. When Bud was only three, Marie began taking Bud and his older brother, Jerry, to Old Orchards Field, where the triple-A farm team of the Chicago Cubs played. As a young man, Selig watched the Milwaukee Brewers, a minor-league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs of the National League, unrelated to the current incarnation of the Milwaukee Brewers. 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
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. This was challenged legally on the basis that no prior team relocations (in the modern era) left a city without a team. Prior movements had all originated in cities which were home to at least two teams. 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 demolished 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 in 1969. One of the games played in Milwaukee that year was against the expansion Seattle Pilots, the team that would become the Brewers. Those Milwaukee "home" games were phenomenally successful, with the handful of games accounting for about one-third of total White Sox home attendance.
To satisfy 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 purchased the bankrupt Seattle Pilots franchise, moving them to his hometown and officially renaming the team the Brewers.
During Selig's tenure as club president, the Brewers participated in postseason play in 1981, when the team finished first in the American League East during the second half of the season, and in 1982, when the team made it to the World Series, under the leadership of future Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. Under Selig's watch, the Brewers also won seven Organization of the Year awards. Selig was part of the owners' collusion in 1985–1987, resulting in the owners paying $280 million in damages to the players.
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.