The MLB finalized the selection of its tenth commissioner on Wednesday when it was announced that Rob Manfred would take over for Bud Selig at the end of this season. The final vote was unanimous.
Manfred, a Harvard Law School graduate, served as the MLB’s chief labor negotiator. He helped the league find its way through three collective bargaining agreements without a work stoppage. Manfred was the MLB executive vice president of labor relations before being promoted to chief operating officer last year. Manfred also led the investigation that resulted in 13 suspensions related to performance enhancing drugs.
Manfred spoke to press after the announcement of his selection.
“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 had served as acting commissioner since 1992 and the official commissioner since 1998. While some regard him as the game’s greatest commissioner, the induction of the wild card, interleague play, instant replay and the infamous all-star game tie had plenty of fans less than thrilled about Selig’s leadership. It’s Manfred’s close relationship with Selgi that has some of those fans worried.
Baseball is at a crossroads right now. The MLB trying to move past the steroid era and trying to implement instant replay in a way that betters the game. What should be most interesting is whether Manfred is able to crack down and make some quick progress in either of those areas. If that doesn’t happen, it won’t be just a minority who questions having gone with Selig’s right hand man.
Manfred will officially take over as commissioner January 25, 2014.