MLB Commissioner Bud Selig formally announced today that he will retire upon the completion of his current term, which runs through January 24, 2015.
Selig, baseball’s interim commissioner from 1992-98 before assuming his current title, had made similar statements in the past. Today’s announcement, though it comes as little surprise, is the most formal he’s made. It carries important implications for the future of the game.
Under Selig, Major League Baseball witnessed unprecedented financial growth while surviving a number of scandals — a players’ strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series, rampant performance-enhancing drug use that many believe tainted baseball’s record books, and a wave of PED-related suspensions just this year for a dozen players who never failed a drug test.
“No Commissioner has faced greater challenges in defending and growing the game, not even Judge Landis,” MLB historian John Thorn said, referring to Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball’s first commissioner from 1920-44.
Former Dodgers manager Joe Torre is an unlikely choice to succeed Selig, writes Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, though there is no clear-cut choice for baseball’s next commissioner. There’s a broad list of candidates that includes everyone from a former president (George W. Bush) to a former Dodgers public relations director (Derrick Hall, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ President).
The process of choosing the next commissioner has 15 months to play out.