Allan H. "Bud" Selig, Ninth Commissioner of Baseball, Elected: 1998-2015
Allan H. (Bud) Selig was elected the ninth Commissioner of Baseball on July 9, 1998, by a unanimous vote of the 30 Major League Baseball club owners. He was succeeded by Rob Manfred on Jan. 25, 2015, after 22 years, the second-longest tenure behind Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
Selig was born on July 30, 1934, in Milwaukee and received a bachelor's degree in American History and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1956. After serving two years in the armed forces, Selig returned to Milwaukee and began working in the automobile business with his father. Selig maintains a tie to that industry as president of the Selig Executive Lease Company.
A life-long baseball fan, Selig, while growing up, followed the old Milwaukee Brewers minor league team and the Chicago Cubs. He became a Braves fan when the National League franchise moved to Milwaukee from Boston in 1953. He subsequently became the team's largest public stockholder before selling his stock in 1965 when the team moved to Atlanta.
Upon learning of the Braves' intended move to Atlanta, Selig founded "Teams, Inc." an organization dedicated to returning Major League baseball to Milwaukee. The group, which later changed its name to "The Brewers," arranged for several Chicago White Sox games to be played in Milwaukee in 1968.
After failing to purchase the White Sox in 1969, Selig's efforts were finally rewarded on April 1, 1970, when a Seattle bankruptcy court awarded the Seattle Pilots franchise to Selig and his investors.
The Brewers appeared in the 1982 World Series, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. The club won seven "Organization of the Year" awards during Selig's tenure as club president, including the TOPPS "Organization of the Year" award in 1987, '89, '91, and '92. In addition, the Brewers won an unprecedented three-straight Baseball America awards from 1985-87.
Selig's active role in baseball, in the Milwaukee community and throughout the nation, has resulted in his receiving many awards during his career, including:
- Selected as the "Executive of the Year" by SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily on December 21, 2006.
- Honored with the 2005 Diversity Leadership Award at the Diversity and Women Leadership Summit and Gala on November 17, 2005.
- Recipient of the Judge Emil Fuchs Award by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America for long and meritorious service to baseball on January 12, 2004.
- Awarded the "Recognition of Goodness Award" by the prestigious Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, an organization that provides financial support to aging non-Jews who risked their lives to save others during the Holocaust, for his extensive charitable efforts on December 8, 2003 in New York City.
- Recipient of the Urban Hero Award for his support of urban youth initiatives at the Eighth Annual Urban Heroes Award Benefit on June 2, 2003.
- Recipient of the Baseball Assistance Team's Big Bat/Frank Slocum Award given January 21, 2003 to honor his contributions and support of B.A.T.
- Inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, November 29, 2001.
- "Sports Torch of Learning Award" presented to outstanding leaders in the field of sports from the American Friends of Hebrew University, July 18, 2001. Created "The Allan H. and Suzanne L. Selig Merit Scholarship Fund" to the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
- Recipient of the "Human Relations Award" from the National Conference for Community and Justice, June 19, 2001.
- Recipient of the "Sports Leadership Award" from Greater NY Chapter of the March of Dimes, December 6, 2000.
- Master of the Game Award" from Marquette Univ. Sports Law Institute, September 22, 2000.
- Inducted into Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame, May 3. 2000.
- Received the "Good Scout Award" from Boy Scouts of America, December 8, 1999.
- The Herbert Hoover Humanitarian Award, received November 19, 1998 from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for outstanding service to benefit America's youth.
- The "Distinguished Service Award" from the US Sports Academy in 1998.
- Named "Wisconsin's Top Sports Personality of the Past 25 Years," an award by the Milwaukee Pen & Mike Club, February 1995.
- Recipient of the "World of Difference" Award from the Anti-Defamation League, February 1994.
- Received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, awarded to outstanding Citizens of the United States who have contributed to our national Identity while preserving the distinct values and heritage of their ancestors, May 16, 1993.
- Received the "Distinguished Citizen Award" from the Potawatomi Council of the Boy Scouts of America, December 1990.
- Recipient of the "August A. Busch, Jr. Award", presented by Major League Baseball Ownership, September 1989. The award, given for "long and meritorious service to baseball," is the equivalent for off-field personnel to the players' Most Valuable Player Award.
- Received the "Baird Award for Management Excellence," April 1989. The Baird Award is given annually to a Wisconsin corporation that consistently demonstrates superior financial achievement and community involvement.
- Named the United States Olympic Committee "Sportsman of the Year Award" for his contributions to baseball and to youth in Milwaukee, May 1983.
- Received the "International B'nai B'rith Sportsman of the Year Award" for his distinguished contributions to the world of sports, February 1981.
- Named "Major League Executive of the Year" by United Press International, 1978.
Selig is a member of the Board of Directors of the Green Bay Packers, Inc., Marcus Corporation and the Oil-Dri Corporation of America. He is also on the Board of Visitors for the Department of Political Science and the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin. Selig is a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, the Boys and Girls Clubs Board of Trustees, is a founder of Athletes for Youth and was instrumental in establishing the Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Fund.
Bud and his wife, Sue, are very active in the Milwaukee community and were co-recipients of the "1990 Humanitarian Award" from the St. Francis Children's Center. They also lend their support and time to the Milwaukee Art Museum. In July of 2001 the Allan H. and Suzanne L. Selig Merit Scholarship Fund was established at the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Selig, who was active in the governance of Major League Baseball during his tenure as President of the Milwaukee Brewers, was a member of the Major League Executive Council when Commissioner Fay Vincent resigned on September 7, 1992. In accordance with the Major League Agreement, which grants the Executive Council the authority to rule Baseball in the absence of a Commissioner, Selig became the central figure in Baseball's power structure on September 9, 1992 when his fellow owners named him Chairman of the Major League Executive Council.
Selig served a dual role as President of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club and Chairman of the Executive Council until his appointment as Commissioner on July 9, 1998. At that time his financial interest in the club was placed in trust and he relinquished involvement in all matters dealing with the operation of the Brewers. In January 2005, the Brewers were sold to Mark Attanasio, thus ending Selig's 35-year relationship with the club.
As Chairman of the Executive Council, and then as Commissioner, Selig's ability to rule by consensus brought about numerous dramatic changes to baseball, including:
- Unbalanced schedule.
- Interleague play.
- Significant revenue sharing among clubs.
- Three-division formats in the American and National Leagues.
- An extra tier of playoffs and the Wild Card.
- First phase of realignment.
- Consolidation of the administrative functions of the American and National Leagues into the Commissioner's Office.
- The restoration of the rulebook strike zone.
- Award the home field advantage in the World Series to the team that represents the league that won the All-Star Game.
But most important, on August 31, 2002, Selig engineered an historic labor agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association that avoided a work stoppage and provided significant economic concessions to the clubs. Those concessions have brought on greater competitive balance among the clubs. For the first time in 30 years, the clubs and the Players Association were able to reach a labor agreement without either a strike or a lockout. On October 24, 2006, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced a new five-year collective bargaining agreement, the longest in baseball history. The pact was reached two months prior to the expiration of the existing contract. By the end of the agreement, baseball will have gone 16 years without a strike or a lockout, the longest period of labor peace since the inception of the collective bargaining relationship.
And, on November 15, 2005, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced an historic agreement to toughen its drug testing policy. The new policy includes a 50-100-life sequence for first, second and third offenses; increased random, year-round testing; a broader list of banned substances; baseball's first testing program for amphetamines; and independently administered testing. The new program, which is as strong as any in professional sports, highlighted Selig's long-term effort to try to rid the game of illegal steroids and performance-enhancing substances.
Under his leadership as Executive Council Chairman and Commissioner, new stadiums have opened in Arizona, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Texas and Washington.
Despite presiding over the game during a troubled period that included a 272-day player strike in 1994 and 1995, Selig is in the process of guiding the game through a significant renaissance. Major League Baseball has now set its all-time regular season attendance record in three consecutive years. In 2004, 73,022,969 fans attended games at the 30 ballparks, and in 2005 that mark was eclipsed as 74,926,174 fans attended. In 2006, Major League Baseball attracted a record total of 76,042,787 fans.
In March 2006, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association partnered to stage the inaugural World Baseball Classic, the most important international baseball event ever held. The tournament, won by Japan, marked the first time that Major League players competed for their home countries. The World Baseball Classic was designed to grow the game internationally.
Bud and his wife, Sue, have three daughters and five granddaughters.