Allan "Bud" Selig, the "acting" commissioner of Major League Baseball for the last 20 years, has confirmed that next season will be last at the helm. Selig, who gave up ownership of the Milwaukee Brewers to become the acting commissioner in 1992, has said in the past that 2014 would be his last year, but will make formal announcement of his decision on Thursday.
Selig's contract expires at the end of the 2014 season (Jan. 24, 2015, to be more precise) will not return. His retirement will come just one year after that of David Stern, the long-serving commissioner of the NBA, whose next season will also be last.
The list of changes that have taken place under Selig's tenure are remarkable, arguably altering the character of the sport more than all previous commissioners combined. (They actually did drop the "acting" from his title in 1998, a full six years after he took the job.) Selig's reign introduced interleague play, added two expansion teams; realigned divisions; created the playoff Wild Card (twice); moved teams between the AL and NL and vice versa; moved Montreal to Washington; helped more than half the teams build new parks; instituted instant replay; and retired the number 42 forever.
Of course, he also oversaw a player's strike; the cancellation of the 1994 World Series; the 2002 All-Star Game that ended in a tie; and stood by helplessly as steroid scandals dominated most of the last decade. To say it's been a transformative era would be an understatement, but the Commish certainly had to weather his fair share of storms along the way.
As a former owner, Selig was often criticized as a tool of the corporate leaders against the players who work for him, but there's no doubt that the financial success of the sport has benefited everyone. Revenues have skyrocketed, and that means greater salaries for everyone.