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Bud Selig makes it official: He’ll step down in January of 2015

Sep 26, 2013, 2:01 PM EDT

Bud Selig AP

Bud Selig insisted way back in July of 2012 that he planned to step down following the 2014 season and today he made it official, announcing that he will cease being Commissioner in January of 2015.

Selig, who will turn 80 in July, has been running MLB since 1992, for six years as interim Commissioner and holding the job officially since 1998. The sport’s revenues have seen explosive growth during his tenure, but his reign is tainted by rampant steroid use that caused many of the game’s revered records to be smashed.

“I am grateful to the owners throughout Major League Baseball for their unwavering support and for allowing me to lead this great institution,” Selig said in a statement. “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.”

Selig is quick to point out that Major League Baseball will have had two decades of uninterrupted labor peace, though a work-stoppage wiped out the end of the 1994 season and forced a truncated ’95 campaign. He oversaw expansion of the postseason to include two Wild Cards in each league and Division Series in both leagues. The league also grew from 26 to 30 teams, with the establishment of the Marlins, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Rays, and franchise valuations skyrocketed. In later years, Selig also helped the league revamp its revenue-sharing model. The league was on the forefront of the digital revolution with the establishment of MLB.com and MLB Network.

But Selig also turned a blind eye to widespread steroid use that peaked during the “Steroid Era” in which the single-season and career home run records were shattered. Several players from the Steroid Era, including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire, have been denied entry into the Hall of Fame as a result of their use, not all of which has been proven. In his final year, he pushed for the league to investigate several players linked to a Miami clinic, Biogenesis, that led to the suspensions of 14 players, including Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun. The Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez is appealing his suspension, which could stretch as long as 211 games.

“It remains my great privilege to serve the game I have loved throughout my life,” Selig said. “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.”

Major League Baseball did not announce Selig’s replacement, but the league said its management structure would be altered after his retirement. The league said it would announce a transition plan soon.

Selig has talked about retiring before, only to remain on the job, so there’s still some “I’ll believe it when I see it” skepticism surrounding this announcement, but the timing gives MLB a chance to establish a full-time successor and make a seamless transition.

I’m looking forward to a Mariano Rivera-style retirement tour around baseball.

  1. kevinbnyc - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Come on Bud! Favre it! Say you’re retiring, then come out of retirement 17,000 times. We’ll miss you so much.

  2. fahmundamahbalsaq - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Thank f*****ing God! Now maybe the sport I used to love can get a World Series first pitch before 8:30 pm, get games under 3 hours and the sport can market itself to people under 65 years old. Ding! Ding! The witch is dead!

    • brewcrewfan54 - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      World Series games do start before 8:30 you just need to move to a new time zone. Sorry that the rest of the country goes a little further west than Ohio.

      • Old Gator - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:00 PM

        Ohio is gonna be pretty sorry too. All that extra country is putting loads of stress on the Reelfoot Fault Zone.

  3. jakeshuman2 - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Good. He is the typical American CEO; bask in the glory when things are good and say “who me?” when things go bad. He is the owner’s man and while he may be good for the bottom line, he has been terrible for the fans and players. As long as homers were being hit in record numbers, he stayed quiet about steroid abuse. When it was in HIS and the owner’s best interest he became a crusader against PED’s. Who suffered from this lassitude? The players and the fans. Bye, bye, Bud and don’t let the door hit you in the behind when you leave.

  4. bucsfan5000 - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    David Stern’s leaving in February so when will Gary Bettman and Roger Goodell leave next?

  5. hildezero - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Every sports commissioner in USA needs to leave their respective leagues. Especially the NHL commissioner. The only one that doesn’t need to would be MLS’ Don Garber. He has done a great job with the growth. Roger Goodell has done an okay job with NFL, but Garber has really done a great job of improving.

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