Commissioner Bud Selig wrapped up the quarterly meeting of Major League Baseball owners Thursday by announcing a succession committee and strongly reiterating that he will leave the job when his term expires Jan. 24.
Selig appointed Cardinals principal owner Bill DeWitt to chair a seven-member committee charged with providing candidates to the executive committee before the owners vote on a new commissioner.
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"I determined last fall that there's a time to come in life and there's a time to go," Selig, 79, said. "I know they hired me four or five times and I understand people kept thinking that was going to happen again -- but it's not."
Selig was interim commissioner from 1992 until 1998, when he was elected by the owners. He was persuaded to re-sign in 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2012. Annual revenues under his tenure grew to $8 billion last season and could approach $9 billion this year.
Now, 23 of the 30 owners will have to agree on Selig's successor. DeWitt said there was no plan to hire an outside search firm, suggesting the next commissioner would come from within. Selig's right-hand man, COO Rob Manfred, undoubtedly will get consideration.
The names of Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, Dodgers president Stan Kasten and Braves president John Schuerholz also have been mentioned.
How much of a role will Selig play in the process? "We would be remiss if we didn't ask his opinion," DeWitt said. Asked if the owners would have preferred Selig staying on, DeWitt said, "We're the succession committee and we're treating it as such. He's made his wishes known."
DeWitt later said, "Let me say it's a tough act to follow. He's done an incredible job coalescing 30 clubs getting all the different views on various matters, having them come together with an almost 30-0 vote that's highly unusual. Depending upon who ends up as his successor we'll see if that can continue."
Notes & quotes: Selig expressed concern at the frequency of Tommy John surgeries. "It bothers me a lot, I'm very worried," he said. "The fact that it's happening with so much regularity, over and over again. Let's see if we can find out some answers, nobody has them I'll tell you that, including the doctors and trainers."