By Lewis Gould
Three months ago an internet rumor started about Phils’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. becoming major league commissioner when Bud Selig stepped down.
FASTPHILLYSPORTS.COM’s Theodore N. Beitchman immediately debunked the absurdity of naming a failed GM to run an entire league when he couldn’t even manage one team. But that didn’t stop local radio blowhards from propagating this rumor.
And yesterday, MLB finally put to rest all talk.
Rob Manfred was elected baseball’s 10th commissioner, winning a three-man competition to succeed Bud Selig and given a mandate by the tradition-bound sport to recapture young fans and speed play in an era that has seen competition increase and attention spans shrink.
The 55-year-old Manfred, who has worked for Major League Baseball in roles with ever-increasing authority since 1998, will take over from Selig, 80, on Jan. 25. It’s a generational change much like the NBA undertook when Adam Silver, then 51, replaced 71-year-old David Stern as commissioner in February. And like Silver, Manfred was his boss’ pick.
Manfred beat out Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner in the first contested vote for a new commissioner in 46 years. The third candidate, MLB executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan, dropped out just before the start of balloting.
“I am tremendously honored by the confidence that the owners showed in me today,” Manfred said. “I have very big shoes to fill.”
Selig has led baseball since September 1992, first as chairman of the sport’s executive council following Fay Vincent’s forced resignation, then as commissioner since July 1998. After announcing his intention to retire many times only to change his mind, he said last September that he really, truly planned to leave in January 2015.