Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig at a news conference last… (Mike Groll / Associated…)
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig confirmed Thursday that he plans to retire when his contract expires in January 2015.
“It remains my great privilege to serve the game I have loved throughout my life," Selig said in a statement. "Baseball is the greatest game ever invented, and I look forward to continuing its extraordinary growth and addressing several significant issues during the remainder of my term.
“I am grateful to the owners throughout Major League Baseball for their unwavering support and for allowing me to lead this great institution. I thank our players, who give me unlimited enthusiasm about the future of our game. Together we have taken this sport to new heights and have positioned our national pastime to thrive for generations to come. Most of all, I would like to thank our fans, who are the heart and soul of our game.”
Selig, 79, has served as commissioner since 1992.
By issuing a formal statement on Thursday, Selig intends to put to rest persistent speculation that he could be persuaded to extend his tenure. After he said he would retire after the 2009 season, he accepted a new deal through 2012. And, after he said he would retire at the end of that deal, he agreed to serve through the 2014 season. He has insisted since then that he would stay no longer than that.
Selig has said he expects to be involved in the selection of a new commissioner, and baseball insiders believe owners are most likely to select one of their own or one of Selig's lieutenants.
The leading candidates include three of baseball's top officials -- executive vice presidents Rob Manfred (labor relations), Tim Brosnan (business) and Bob Bowman (new media). Club officials often mentioned include Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, Detroit Tigers president Dave Dombrowski, Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall and San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer.
Former U.S. president George W. Bush, the onetime owner of the Texas Rangers, previously expressed some interest in the job.
Or, if the owners want to think outside the box, this former shortstop.
Selig discusses his legacy in this extensive Times interview.
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