Rob Manfred will succeed Bud Selig as Commissioner of Major League Baseball to become one of the most powerful figures in sports. The MLB’s Chief Operating Officer was elected in a 30-0 vote in the sixth ballot by the league’s owners in a closed-door ballroom of a Baltimore hotel. He will take over from Selig on January 25th, who presided MLB for 22 years, two become the league’s tenth commissioner. “We’ve had quite an interesting day, a lengthy day,” Selig said. “We had a significant number of votes, but in the end the vote was unanimous, 30-0. The process is complete.”
In early voting, eight of the 30 owners voted for Tom Werner, an owner of the Boston Red Sox. The small group was led by the Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who, according to The New York Times, advocated for Werner in open defiance of Selig. With 23 votes needed for the Commissioner to be elected, Reindorf’s faction only managed to delay Manfred’s confirmation for a few hours.
Tim Brosnan, MLB’s executive vice president of business, the third candidate short-listed for the lections, withdrew from the process shortly before voting began. “I care too much about the game to let it get dragged down, and I wanted the process to be as efficient as it could,” he explained. “We’ve had a great run under Commissioner Selig, and I look forward to a continued great run under Commissioner Manfred”.
“I’m tremendously honored by the confidence the owners showed in me. I have very big shoes to fill. Selig has been a friend and mentor for me the entire 25 years I’ve been in the game. There is no question that I would not be standing here today if it were not for Bud. And I hope I will perform in a way that adds to his great legacy.”
Selig’s tenure resulted in a sweeping transformation of the game, including an unprecedented era in labor peace, a sharp rise in revenue and attendance, a string of new ballparks, improved competitive balance, instant replay, expanded playoffs, the most comprehensive drug testing program among the major professional sports and the creation of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
When Manfred, 55, was promoted to COO on Sept. 28, 2013, it put him directly in line to follow Selig. Since then he has overseen all traditional functions of the Commissioner’s Office, including labor relations, baseball operations, finance, administration and club governance. But a seven-man search committee, headed by Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., eventually presented a slate of three candidates to the Executive Committee.
“We ended up with three very strong, highly qualified candidates,” DeWitt said. “In the end, Rob Manfred was elected because of his dynamic leadership, his passion for the game, his ability to lead the staff in New York, which he has done, and his overall ability to deal with labor issues and really all aspects of the game. When we put together the requirements for the next Commissioner, he really checked all the boxes.“
This article was republished with permission from the editor and publisher, Karl-Heinz Huba. The original article was published in the Sport Intern.