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Selig Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

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Today’s Game Era Committee elects Selig and Schuerholz to Hall

The National Baseball Hall of Fame has two new members. Former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and current Atlanta Braves General Manager John Schuerholz were elected by the Today’s Game Era Committee on December 4th, 2016. Some of the notable names on the ballot that didn’t make the cut include, Mark McGwire, Will Clark, and Orel Hershiser along with former managers Lou Piniella and Davy Johnson.  

Selig, the former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, became Commissioner of Major League Baseball in 1992 replacing Fay Vincent. Selig was now faced with the enormous task of running Major League Baseball. Baseball under Vincents’ tenure was not what the players or the owners had hoped it would be. Television ratings were down and people were ultimately tuning out the game. The 1990 lockout canceled Spring Training and delayed the start of the regular season. Selig had a huge task ahead of him in turning around the game and bringing fans back to the ballpark. One of the first changes Selig made was expanding the postseason. Selig instituted the Wild Card round. Selig saw this as a way for teams who were out of contention in their division to still have a fighting chance for a playoff spot. He is also credited with developing revenue sharing, the World Baseball Classic, and interleague play.

Schuerholz’s election to the hall wasn’t a surprise to most.  He was a unanimous selection by the 16 member committee. Schuerholz is best known as the architect of the Atlanta Braves, who from 1991-2005, won 14 straight division titles. He is the only GM to win a World Series in both the American League and National League (1985 Royals and 1995 Braves). He will be reunited with longtime associate, friend, and current Hall of Fame Member Bobby Cox.

While you can make the case that both belong in the Hall of Fame, one could make the argument that Selig’s selection could be viewed as controversial. While he played a huge role in the resurrection of the game, he undoubtedly played just as large a role in its potential downfall as well. Selig, after all, was the commissioner during the 1994 strike which resulted in a work stoppage and the first-ever cancellation of the World Series in the history of the game. He’s also faced criticism for turning a blind eye to PED use within the game. During the 1998 season, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa revitalized baseball in an epic battle chasing Roger Maris‘ single-season home run record. Both would be accused of PED use and testify before congress. Selig has been accused by many as being slow to act on steroid use in baseball in part, do to the fact that PED’s elevated fraudulent numbers that brought fans into the stadiums and increased television ratings. After all, the strike had caused many fans to abandon the game. Was it the wrong time to do the right thing?

Ultimately, the Baseball Hall of Fame is a place for the games best stars, innovators, executives, managers and the like. If Bud Selig can be welcomed in, all his faults included, it leaves hope for many of the steroid era ball players. Maybe one day the true history and accolades of the game will be celebrated, faults and all.