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SBN Wisconsin Hall of Fame Nomination #9: Bud Selig

Allan "Bud" Selig was born on July 30, 1934 in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Selig was born to immigrants, his father was from Romania, and his mother from the Ukraine.

As a young boy in the 30s and 40s, Bud Selig would attend games at Borchert Field, watching the minor-leaue squad -- the Milwaukee Brewers play.  The Brewers would play in Milwaukee until the 1953, when County Stadium would be built, and the Boston Braves would relocate to their new home in Milwaukee.

In 1956, Selig would graduate from the UW-Madison with degrees in US History and Political Science. Selig would serve his county in the Army for a couple of years, and then join his father in the family car-leasing business, an industry in which he is still involved in today.

While the Braves were in Milwaukee, Selig was able to become a minority owner of the team. Selig fervently tried to keep the Braves in Milwaukee, based on the fact that no team in the history of MLB (at that time), had moved to another city without leaving a MLB team still in the city. Even when the Washington Senators left for Minnesota in 1960, a new Senators team was created to play in Washington. Once the Braves left for Atlanta in 1965, Selig created "The Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club", intent on bring baseball back to Milwaukee.

In 1968 and 1969, Selig arranged for the Chicago White Sox to play 20 home games in the now-vacant County Stadium. The Milwaukee baseball fanbase overwhelmingly supported this effort, by far surpassing attendance per game numbers at Cominsky Park. Seeing an opportunity to bring MLB back to Wisconsin, Selig struck a deal to buy the White Sox, but the American League blocked the deal, in order to keep a presence in Chicago. Bud Selig then turned to the financially and otherwise bankrupt Seattle Pilots, purchased them and moved them to Milwaukee.

The Brewers would play their first season in 1970, and under the guidance of GM Harry Dalton would represent the American League in the World Series in 1982, 25 years after the Milwaukee Braves made their first appearance in the Fall Classic. Under Selig's ownership the Brewers would win seven "Organizations of the Year" Awards.

In 1991 Selig would transfer ownership of the Brewers to his daughter Wendy Selig in order to become the Commissioner of MLB, a position he is contracted to hold until 2012.

In his tenure as Commissioner Selig has brought the following changes to the game of baseball.

  • 1994 - Three divisions in both American and National Leagues, adding a wildcard team to the playoffs
  • 1997 - Interleague play
  • 1998 - Expansion into Tampa Bay and Arizona
  • 2003 - Home field advantage for the winner of the All-Star game in the World Series
  • 2004 - Jackie Robinson Day
  • 2005 - Stricter testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
  • 2006 - World Baseball Classic
  • 2008 - Instant Replay for homeruns

There is no denying that Selig has financially turned around MLB in his tenure as Commissioner, increasing attendance and allowing for 19 new stadiums to be built during his stay in office.