By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
For over 20 years, Bud Selig served as Major League Baseball’s commissioner, one of the most powerful positions in sports. Although his legacy was tainted by the explosion of performance-enhancing drugs during the 90s, Selig also helped the MLB become a moneymaking powerhouse with increasing popularity. Now, Rob Manfred, who served as Selig’s longtime deputy, has been elected as the new commissioner, in the first contested voting in 46 years.
55-year-old Manfred has worked his way up the league’s ranks since starting in 1998, and was the MLB’s chief operating officer before being chosen as baseball’s 10th commissioner. He was up against Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and MLB executive vice president Tim Brosnan, who dropped out early Thursday afternoon from a lack of support. After hours of deliberation, Manfred was chosen unanimously, meaning he won 100% of the votes.
“I’m tremendously honored in the confidence that the owners showed in me today,” said Manfred. He was chosen after intense debates on Thursday evening, and Selig explained, “There were differences of opinion, but in the end we came together.”
San Francisco Giants president and CEO, Larry Baer, sees Manfred’s election as a stamp of approval on Selig’s legacy. He expressed, “I think there’s a lot of confidence that the game grew well in the period with Bud, and somebody at his side is well positioned to foster further growth.” One of the reasons Selig is viewed favorably, is he maintained peace with the players’ unions, by offering fair wages and negotiating a drug testing policy. Last year, for example, Selig imposed a season-long ban on New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, when evidence came to light of performance-enhancing drug use. Even the Yankees president, Randy Levine, agrees Selig was a good commissioner and that Manfred’s future looks bright. “There’ll never be a commissioner like [Selig],” stated Levine. “He’s revolutionized the game, and I think Rob is going to try and continue and expand that.”
Featured image courtesy of MLB. Image of Bud Selig courtesy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Flickr.