Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Growth of MLB under Selig as Commissioner

Under his leadership, Commissioner Bud Selig has guided the baseball industry to:

Unprecedented labor peace: For a period of at least 21 years, from 1995 through expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2016, Selig will have led MLB to the game's longest period of uninterrupted play since the inception of the collective bargaining relationship between it and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Significant economic reform: During his tenure, Selig has overseen historic economic growth, returning the sport to profitability while implementing fiscal reforms such as the debt-service rule, landmark revenue sharing among the 30 clubs, and a competitive-balance tax on the highest spending clubs. In 1992, when Selig assumed leadership of the game, total industry revenues were at $1.2 billion; by 2012, revenues had grown more than 600 percent to a record total $7.5 billion.

Competitive balance enhancements: Competitive balance has improved dramatically during Selig's tenure because of the historic economic reforms as well as the significant changes to the amateur talent acquisition process. These efforts have resulted in nine different clubs winning the last 12 World Series and 26 of the 30 clubs participating in the postseason over the last decade, despite what remains the most exclusive playoff structure in sports.

Increased popularity of the game: Throughout the past decade, Major League Baseball's attendance will have featured all 10 of the best-attended individual seasons in baseball history, in large part because of the fan-friendly innovations that Selig adopted. During this time, Selig expanded the postseason format, effective first in 1995 and again in 2012; instituted Interleague Play in 1997; and created the Wild Card playoff berths, which have allowed more fans to experience the excitement of pennant chases and October baseball.

The most comprehensive drug program in pro sports: Selig implemented the most comprehensive and aggressive Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in professional sports via collective bargaining, including random, in-season blood testing for human growth hormone among Major League players and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world. A cornerstone of the program is unparalleled transparency on the issue of performance-enhancing drugs, starting with the independent Mitchell Report in 2007, continuing with the establishment of MLB's Department of Investigations in 2008 and the public announcements of substances that resulted in positive tests under the drug program, culminating in the recent discipline stemming from the Biogenesis investigation.

Record franchise values: Selig has guided the industry to record franchise values, which have been evident in the recent sales of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers, the San Diego Padres, the Houston Astros and other clubs.

The foundings of MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network: During Selig's tenure, he has presided over the modernization of MLB's reach online via the establishment of MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) in January 2000; on television through MLB Network, which had a record launch in cable television history in 2009; and in existing and emerging global markets via the World Baseball Classic, a tournament in partnership with the MLBPA that celebrates the international growth of the sport;

Wide-ranging social responsibility: Under his direction, Selig has mandated that MLB assume the highest social responsibilities in a wide variety of ways, with philanthropy and corporate citizenship now core values of Major League Baseball. Selig has honored the legacy of the man responsible for "Baseball's proudest and most powerful moment," Jackie Robinson, by taking the unprecedented step of retiring his No. 42 league-wide in 1997, and, since 2004, officially designating each April 15 -- the anniversary of his historic debut in 1947 -- as Jackie Robinson Day. Commissioner Selig also led MLB to become a founding donor of Stand Up To Cancer in 2008. MLB, its 30 clubs and its partners have donated more than $35 million to SU2C, funding groundbreaking translational research that delivers new therapies to those who fight cancer. Among others, MLB also has supported Welcome Back Veterans and the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Program.