Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced his retirement Thursday, saying that he will step down in January 2015, ending 20 years of leadership that saw increased growth in the sport, along with more challenging issues like doping scandals and tough labor negotiations.
“I’ve had the good fortune to serve as the commissioner of baseball,” he said in an announcement
at the 2013 FanFest. “Let me put it to you another way. I have the distinct privilege of leading the sport of Jackie Robinson, whose number 42 was retired forever in 1997. I remember that night in Shea stadium, a great night. … It has come to symbolize what I believe is our game’s stature as a social institution, with very important and significant social responsibility.”
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Rumors of Selig’s retirement have been filtering through the sporting world, and in an interview with Sports Illustrated earlier this month, Selig said
, “Look, I've told everybody that I've got another 16, 17 months to go and I've got obviously lots of things I want to do and will do. But I am convinced — I think it's Jan. 24, 2015, that is the actual date — that I will be done. I believe that and I think everybody now understands that I will be done.”
Selig, who owned the Milwaukee Brewers, stepped into the commissioner’s position in 1992. He was pivotal in numerous game changes over the years, including moving from a two-division format to three and adding a Wild Card berth to the playoffs.
Selig also was leading the MLB during angry labor negotiations that led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series and more recently took a lot of criticism about MLB doping regulations. Today, Yahoo reports, major league baseball has the strictest anti-doping regulations
of any U.S. sports leagues.
Feelings about Selig’s tenure span the range, but one baseball fan who commented on the SI article, summed it up: “He got some things right and some other things wrong. He seems a bit stubborn, hard-headed and crotchety but he obviously loves the game. … He was by no means exceptional (see All-Star game tie), but he was ok. In the end he leaves baseball better than he found it.”
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