January 24, 2015: Today in sports history we remember the 22-plus-year career of MLB Commissioner Allan Huber "Bud" Selig as he retires.
Selig reigned over MLB baseball through the most scrutinized time in its history with the Steriod Era. He is the second-longest tenured MLB commish since enesaw Mountain Landis, who held the office from 1920 until his death in 1944. How will history view Selig's legacy?
Over his time, Selig brought the game more excitement by adding two wild cards into the game, a play-in game, and interleague play. He helped get 22 new stadiums built, and he instituted sports' toughest drug program. But above all, Selig was a great business man with an eye on how to improve the economics of baseball; he instituted a luxury tax, a payroll threshold and revenue sharing. Attendance records have been broken all over the league.
Teams like last year's Kansas City Royals are an example of what Selig takes pride in for what MLB has become. A small market team was able to compete at the highest level and almost win the World Series. Baseball has gone from a $1.2-billion business to more than $9 billion in that time.
Selig has helped change the game through advancement in technology. He has brought in video replay so that a game will not be decided on a blown call. He was also instrumental in bringing the fans closer to the game and their teams through MLB.com, the league's website.
This is all not bad for a guy who was just supposed to be a temporary commissioner when he took over in 1992 at the age of 57.
When we think back on the Selig Era, it will be hard not to associate it with the black cloud that steroids cast on the game. Selig knew he had to take it head on and in March of 2006 he hired former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell to lead an independent investigation into the use of steroids in baseball's recent past. The Mitchell Report would turn baseball legends and childhood hero's into cheaters. Record holders like Mark McGwire would have their legacies tarnished. With so many big names and so many records having fallen during this era, it's hard not to put asterisks next to records, even without proof. We see the lasting effects still with players like Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa kept out of the Hall of Fame by voters.
Selig will likely get into the Hall of Fame before any of those players.
We also can't forget under Selig the 1994 season was lost to strike and the World Series cancelled for the first time since 1904.
There have been many great things during the Selig Era, and many black eyes. Regardless, his legacy on MLB baseball won't be forgotten and will live on through Rob Manfred, who he handpicked as his replacement.
Here's wishing you a happy retirement, Bud Selig.