Born July 30th, 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Selig has been commissioner of baseball since 1992 when he was named the Executive Council Chairman, essentially the interim-commissioner, of Major League Baseball. He was named full-time commissioner in 1998 and has seen significant developments to the game under his watch. Such highlights of his career include:
– Suspending then-Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott for repeated racist remarks and actions in 1993.
– Reinstating George Steinbrenner’s life-time suspension from baseball (also in 1993), which was issued by former commissioner Fay Vincent.
– Overseeing the league during the 1994 players strike.
– The beginning of interleague play.
– Divisional realignment from two divisions per league to three.
– Deciding that the 2002 All-Star game should end in a 7-7 tie (which was coincidentally played in his hometown Milwaukee).
Selig is a previous owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, under a company called Teams Inc. He was a car dealer (salesman) at the time, which allowed him to accumulate enough money to purchase a majority stake of the team.
The commissioner has come under scrutiny as of late for his response to Barry Bonds’ efforts to supplant Hank Aaron as baseball’s all-time home run king. Bonds is currently one home run short of tying Aaron and Selig had previously shown reluctance to attend any games in which Bonds could have broken the mark. Selig did catch three games when Bonds was stuck on 753 home runs, but only because the Giants were playing in Milwaukee. He did travel to San Francisco to see Bonds tie or break the record, but Bonds went homerless. It is clear that Selig will not continue to track Bonds, who next plays three games in Los Angeles, then three in San Diego.
Though he has stated that Bonds should be considered innocent until proven guilty, Selig has hardly hidden his feelings that Bonds took performance-enhancing drugs. Selig is a good friend of Aaron’s and doesn’t appear comfortable talking about Bonds breaking the home run record. Despite his feeling against steroids, Selig needs to see that the “steroid-era” of baseball happened under his watch as commissioner and that his attempts to curb the use of performance-enhancing drugs came too late. I do believe that the league is moving in the right direction, but they are spending too much time looking in the past to try to defame Bonds and his achievements.
With that said, Major League Baseball has grown considerably under Selig’s time as commissioner and he should be recognized for the positives as well. So with all of that, we are left with nothing to say but: Happy Birthday Bud!