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Bud Selig is stepping down this weekend after 23 years as Major League Baseball Commissioner.
ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian joined Only A Game's Doug Tribou to put Selig's legacy into perspective.
On Selig's Best Contributions To Baseball
TK: There were a lot of them. Interleague play, the Wild Card situation — two Wild Cards actually now, which I think have done really well for the game. But mostly it has been the growth of the revenues in the game. Basically over the last 20 years or so, the revenues have gone from $1.8 billion to $9 billion. And I think Bud Selig has had an awful lot to do with that.
The Steroid Era
TK: Clearly he didn't do enough at the time. But neither did the players' association or the owners or the general managers or the media or anybody else here. Now, granted, it's Bud Selig's sport and, yes, he should have been on top of this, and yes, this will be his one big black mark. But I'm gonna give the benefit of the doubt to some degree that proving that and knowing exactly what was going on was not an easy thing to do.
But he has, after we found out what the steroid era was about — at least what we know — he's done a very, very good job in getting drug testing, and I think he deserves some credit, at least, for that.
1994 Player's Strike
TK: It will be remembered that he was the commissioner when the World Series was not played. But Bud Selig, after '94, essentially said, "Look, we're not going to allow this to happen anymore." He deserves at least some credit for that.
2002 All-Star Game And Rule Change
TK: Well, I don't really like it either. But if you look at how we determined home-field advantage before, it was just alternating years: AL'll get it this year, NL'll get it next year. They didn't exactly take away a good situation and replace it with a bad one; they just put in one that I thought was unnecessary, and I still do today.
On New Commissioner Rob Manfred
TK: I think he's going to be very good because behind the scenes, he is a very tough guy. I've been told repeatedly that in punishing steroid guys, PED guys, it was usually Rob Manfred behind the scenes saying 'No, that's not enough. We have to go after this guy.' Now on the outside, he's going to look like Bud Selig's handpicked choice, which is exactly what he is. So I don't foresee any massive changes from the way that Bud Selig did business. I think Rob Manfred will pretty much stay the course.
Bud Selig's Legacy
TK: He has to be remembered as perhaps the most influential commissioner of all-time for the reasons we stated earlier: the growth in revenues, the new stadiums that were built under his watch, the whole interleague play thing, the whole restructuring of the divisions in baseball, the two wild cards. When it comes to all the things that happened under his watch, I think you have to consider him maybe the most influential commissioner of all time.
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This segment aired on January 24, 2015.
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