Bud Selig, who has presided over Major League Baseball as commissioner for 21 years, will formally announce Thursday that he plans to retire after the 2014 season. Selig would finish his career with the second-longest tenure of any baseball commissioner, trailing only the first, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who held the job from 1920 to 1944.
Selig, 79, has made a habit of announcing his pending retirement, only to continue in the position. He said in 2006 that he would retire after the 2009 season, but signed on for three more years. He then insisted that he would retire after the 2012 season, but soon agreed to stay on through 2014.
Selig, the former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, became commissioner after the ouster of Fay Vincent in September 1992. He has presided over sweeping, and largely popular, changes, like expanded playoffs and interleague play. But he has also been dogged by a persistent steroids scandal, despite instituting a drug-testing program that is considered the toughest of the major U.S. professional sports.
Selig has spoken of his plans to teach in retirement, and write a memoir. He has an office in the history department at the University of Wisconsin and has been a regular lecturer at the National Sports Law Institute of Marquette University Law School.
In a statement, Selig said: “It remains my great privilege to serve the game I have loved throughout my life. Baseball is the greatest game ever invented, and I look forward to continuing its extraordinary growth and addressing several significant issues during the remainder of my term.
“I am grateful to the owners throughout Major League Baseball for their unwavering support and for allowing me to lead this great institution. I thank our players, who give me unlimited enthusiasm about the future of our game. Together we have taken this sport to new heights and have positioned our national pastime to thrive for generations to come. Most of all, I would like to thank our fans, who are the heart and soul of our game.”
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