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Bud Selig's hits and misses as MLB commissioner

MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks to the media

MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks to the media before a game between the Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium in New York on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Credit: AP / Kathy Willens

The Good

1. PED testing: Bud Selig managed to turn one of his biggest embarrassments as commissioner into perhaps his greatest achievement by instituting a strict testing program for performance-enhancing drugs with severe penalties. MLB turned a blind eye as PED use exploded and made a mockery of the record books, but the results of Selig's crackdown are very evident in the sport today.

 

2 Expanded video review: Taking advantage of technology to reverse blown calls seems like a no-brainer, and the old-school Selig finally decided to go to the videotape in 2008 when he implemented instant replay to check on home runs. That expanded last season to allow managers to challenge calls. The result? More correct calls and less controversy for the sport.

 

3 Adding the wild card: Traditionalists balked at changing the playoff format when the wild card was introduced for the 1995 season, but there's no arguing with what's transpired since. More playoff chases in September and, with the addition of a second wild card, a do-or-die one-game playoff.

 

4 Jackie Robinson Day: In a move that was long overdue, Selig had MLB formally recognize Jackie Robinson's legacy by retiring his No. 42 at every ballpark and having every player wear the number on April 15, the day he's honored every year.

 

The Bad

1 Canceling the 1994 Series: In retrospect, MLB's previous scorched-earth policy toward labor negotiations might have turned out to be a good thing because Selig eventually realized the error of his ways. Choosing to kill the Fall Classic that year serves as a reminder to never do it again.

 

2 The 1998 home run chase: While it's true the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa pursuit of Roger Maris' single-season home record probably helped resurrect baseball after the 1994 strike, it now feels like an extremely awkward chapter in baseball's history and helped spawn even more widespread PED use before testing was implemented. Selig was pushed to act by the federal government, so this was a case of better late than never.

 

3 Oakland, Tampa Bay markets: The A's play in an antiquated stadium with exploding toilets and the Rays sell tickets only when transplanted Northerners fill the Trop to cheer for the Red Sox or Yankees. During Selig's tenure, 20 new stadiums have been built, but this commissioner has allowed the A's to be held hostage by the Giants' territorial rights and the Rays to operate in an untenable market. Good luck to Rob Manfred with these two spots.

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