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SAY YOU'RE SURPRISED! SELIG SET TO BE NAMED MLB COMMISSIONER
Published June 18, 1998
Bud Selig, who has served as MLB's acting commissioner for nearly six years, "has decided to accept the job" on a permanent basis, according to Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES. Chass' piece was teased on the front page of the paper and featured above the fold in the Sports section. Two sources, one a "high-ranking" MLB official and one who "is not in baseball but has close contacts with people in the sport's hierarchy," said that an official announcement "could be made by" the All-Star Game on July 7. One owner said the announcement "could be coming in two to four weeks." Chass writes that the naming of Selig as commissioner "should surprise no one," and that despite his statements of non-interest, "[o]verwhelming support from owners for him to take the job made it possible for him to agree to take it." Several sources said that "only two or three" owners were opposed to Selig taking the post. All of Chass' sources named White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf as one who opposed the appointment. Giants Owner Peter Magowan and the Cubs' Tribune Co. were also named as being opposed to the Selig appointment (N.Y. TIMES, 6/18). NOT EVERYONE'S BUD? Chass writes that "[o]ne problem" Selig might have is "public acceptance," since he was the "face that fans saw" throughout the '94-'95 strike. Another possible problem may be management's relations with the MLBPA, as the relationship between Selig and MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr "deteriorated badly" during the labor dispute, "reaching the point where Fehr didn't even want to talk to Selig." Selig's acceptance of the post has prompted some in MLB to "question whether he was really sincere in his repeated insistence that he didn't want" it. One senior club exec said he thought "the whole thing was orchestrated. [Selig] was telling a small group of people from day one he wanted it but told everyone else he didn't" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/18). Selig, asked about the report by Tom Haudricourt in WI said, "There's always been a great deal of speculation on this matter, but at this point in time I can assure you there is nothing definitive" (JOURNAL-SENTINEL, 6/18).