Bud Selig has been Major League Baseball's commissioner since 1992, but his term will come to an end following the 2014 season. The former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers officially announced his retirement Wednesday, according to the MLB Public Relations Twitter account:
Commissioner Selig formally announced today that he will retire upon completion of his current term, which runs through January 24, 2015.— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) September 26, 2013
Selig also released a statement through the same account:
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.
This isn’t the first time that Selig has attempted to retire. He was convinced to sign extensions on two previous occasions, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but he has finally decided to call it quits for good.
Owners had talked Selig into taking two previous extensions when he said he was leaving. This time, he stood firm. He will be 80 next year.— Tom (@Haudricourt) September 26, 2013
Although it isn’t yet known who the league’s next commissioner will be, he will be stationed in the central New York office, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
The next #MLB commissioner, according to several owners, will definitely have to be in the New York office.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) September 26, 2013
Selig's tenure as commissioner has been an interesting one, as the landscape of baseball has changed constantly. The performance-enhancing drugs era ballooned under Selig's watch, but he has taken huge steps toward curtailing the issue in recent years, with the MLB now boasting what is arguably the most stringent PED policy in professional sports.
He also instituted the wild card in 1994, and while there was initially some resistance from purists, it has become an accepted part of the game. Selig even added one wild card in each league last year, and time will tell if that is ultimately as successful as the initial advent.
In addition to the wild card, Selig pushed through interleague play in 1997. That was yet another decision that was initially met with criticism, but it helped create new rivalries and provided fans with matchups that they had never seen before.
Interleague play is now a staple. The Houston Astros’ move to the American League this season has ensured that an interleague series is in play at all times, so Selig's creation is here to stay.
Perhaps Selig’s biggest success as commissioner came on the business side of things. During his term, he made Major League Baseball a multi-billion-dollar industry.
One big reason owners didn't want Selig to leave: Under his guidance MLB has gone from $1.2 billion industry to $8.5 billion.— Tom (@Haudricourt) September 26, 2013
Selig will always be viewed as a controversial figure in baseball history, but there is no question that he will have left his stamp on the game when he officially leaves following the 2014 campaign.
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