It's been known for months that Bud Selig is set to retire as the MLB commissioner following the 2014 season, but a successor has yet to be identified. However, Selig is in the process of helping to find that next head of baseball by forming a succession committee.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported the decision by Selig on Thursday:
Bud Selig announces formation of commissioners succession committee at #MLB owners meetings. Bill DeWitt, chairman.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) May 15, 2014
Crasnick and Steven Marcus of Newsday also provide comments from the commissioner saying he still plans to retire:
Bud Selig on his retirement: "23-plus years are enough. I've accepted it for the last 5-6 months.''— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) May 15, 2014
Selig: No possibility he will stay on as commissioner. Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt will head committee for successor.— steven marcus (@newsdaymarcus) May 15, 2014
St. Louis Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt is now tasked with the job of finding a replacement for the leader of MLB, likely by the end of the year. With Selig set to hang it up in January, the next commissioner will need to be in place by that point.
Given the short time frame, the process needed to be sped up, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times noted earlier this month:
It needs to be more inclusive, and perhaps a little less quiet, if Selig does not want to risk a fight among a new wave of owners with no great loyalty to him. The new commissioner will need a unified front when collective bargaining talks start. For a man who takes deserved pride in two decades of labor peace, Selig ought not to leave a divided house of owners behind him.
Despite the short time frame, DeWitt doesn't appear to be worried about the transition period, per Marcus:
Dewitt on commissioner search: ``We're full speed ahead.'' No plan to hire outside search firm.— steven marcus (@newsdaymarcus) May 15, 2014
DeWitt will be the head of the search committee, but this certainly won't be a one-man job.
Though Selig wasn't always one of the more popular commissioners in his last several years on the job, it will still be a difficult task to find a man to lead the entire league. Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal notes the other owners who will be involved in the process:
Other owners on Selig succession committee: Pohlad, Reinsdorf, Moreno, Montgomery, Monfort, Nutting— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) May 15, 2014
Fisher also provides details on the urgency of the committee being formed for the MLB owners:
Selig has been adamant about keeping succession process quiet as possible, but owners have been wanting more structure to effort— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) May 15, 2014
Selig announced back in September that he would be retiring, but the process has been notably kept under wraps to this point. Thanks to the fact that this committee is officially formed, the owners involved will likely attempt to expedite the process.
A new commissioner might not be found over the summer, but when the playoffs near and finish up, DeWitt and the other owners will find a worthy heir to Selig's throne.
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