Will HOF Voters Have the Audacity to Vote Selig in While Keeping McGwire Out?
The HOF website’s anodyne summary of the Selig Era reads like the inscription for his plaque: “Allan H. ‘Bud’ Selig was Baseball’s ninth commissioner, serving as acting commissioner starting in 1992 before being named commissioner in 1998. Selig oversaw two rounds of expansion, the creation of Wild Card playoff teams and interleague play as well as the creation of the World Baseball Classic.”
It’s an incomplete summation of the man and his tenure. Selig not only oversaw the game’s greatest geographic expansion, he led the game’s greatest sustained economic expansion (per Graham Womack at the Sporting News, annual revenues went from $2 billion to $9 billion under his watch, a compound annual growth rate of about 8%). He negotiated and approved landmark television and merchandising deals, and led baseball’s “early adopter” efforts with regard to streaming technology (it was reported earlier this year that the Walt Disney Company took a stake in MLB Advanced Media; while details weren’t made public, it was estimated that the deal values the company at $3.5 billion).
Of course, Selig was acting commissioner when the most calamitous work-stoppage (1994-1995) in the history of the game took place (he was firmly in the corner of ownership). He is the only commissioner to preside over an October without a World Series; and it is under his leadership that the use of performance-enhancing drugs proliferated throughout the game…