So, former Baseball Commissioner Allan "Bud" Selig has been elected to become a member of the previously illustrious Baseball Hall of Fame. The former car salesman, who was instrumental in bringing the bankrupted Seattle Pilots east, to become the Milwaukee Brewers, had been a stalwart figure in the world of Milwaukee baseball.
During his tenure as the owner/president of the Brewers, he saw them play in three different divisional alignments, across both leagues. He replaced Fay Vincent as Commissioner in what was tantamount to a coup, with what the media referred to as the "Great Lakes Gang" comprised of Selig, Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox and Carl Pohlad of the Twins. Those owners led the effort to oust Vincent, which they succeeded. Vincent was the last commissioner who was not beholden entirely to ownership, and had been known to act in ' the best interest of baseball'
(Vincent has not been deemed worthy of enshrinement, nor has his predecessor Bart Giamatti. In my opinion, Giamatti did more to advance the sport of baseball in his short 5 month stint at the helm than Selig did during his twenty-three year run.)
Selig did advance the business of baseball to new heights. In doing so, his legacy leaves a lot of things in its wake.
- The first World Series to be canceled due to a labor issue.
- The first season to be postponed due to the same issue.
- The wholesale buying to stock the Florida Marlins, and the subsequent dismantling of the team the following year.
- The allowing of a team owner to essentially trade ownership of their team (the Expos) for a more favorable team (the Red Sox) and the league's becoming the operators of the Expos until an owner was secured.
- The instigation of inter-league play, which was novel fore a while, but leads to unbalanced schedules of ridiculously epic proportions.
- The unprecedented moving of his beloved Milwaukee Brewers across the League lines, becoming a National league team, with the belief that despite a twenty-five year history of fantastic fan support, that Milwaukee was more of a National league town.
- The elimination of the delineation between the leagues. No more League Presidents, League Umpires and League leaders. (If you check out stats online, they are a combined list)This was furthered by the All-Star Game in 2000, when instead of the pre-game introductions with the teams lined up along their baselines in front of the dugout, the players were introduced by position en mass.
- His embarrassment at having an All-Star Game end in a tie at his home stadium, and the implementation of the ludicrous "Winner of the All-Star Game gets home field in the Series decree.
- His handling of young shortstop Gary Sheffield, who was unhappy playing in Milwaukee for one reason or another, and who admittedly made errors on purpose to force the Brewers to trade him away, which they did. Now, in the best interest of baseball, one would think that a player admitting to making errors on purpose, potentially changing the outcome of games in which he was playing, would call for some sort of reprimand. Sheffield's reprimand? He was traded to San Diego.
Oh, and let's not forget the juice.
Stories about players steroid use were becoming more widespread, and baseball was slow to react. Of course, one can blame the Players Association for having a hand in that as well, and that is fair. However, as the overlord of baseball, Selig should have acted swiftly and sternly, sending a message that the steroid use had to stop. That didn't happen. In fact, the steroid use flourished under Selig's watch.
So, congratulations Mr. Selig. your induction can now give free reign to the voters to give the nod to the various known steroid users, and have them infiltrate the one time Hallowed Hall at Cooperstown.
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