Brewers to unveil statue of Bud Selig
Without the persistence of Bud Selig, the Milwaukee Brewers might still be the Seattle Pilots.
That same persistence resulted in the building of Miller Park, which guaranteed the franchise would not relocate again.
On those two counts alone, much less his other accomplishments, the Brewers figured Selig deserved to stand - in bronze - with Hank Aaron and Robin Yount outside of the club's retractable-roof facility.
The Brewers announced Monday that they will honor baseball's commissioner and the team's former owner with a statue at Miller Park's Home Plate Plaza.
Selig's statue will be unveiled in a ceremony at 1 p.m. Aug. 24.
"We are proud to honor Commissioner Selig for all of his efforts on behalf of the Milwaukee Brewers and Major League Baseball," owner Mark Attanasio said in a statement released by the club.
"The Brewers and Miller Park are in this city because of the commissioner's vision and dedicated efforts. Just as importantly, he has remained a prominent and highly philanthropic member of our community while effectively leading Major League Baseball during his tenure as baseball's top executive."
Selig's statue will measure more than 7 feet in height, not including the base. It is being designed and produced by Brian Maughan, who (along with Douglas Kwart) also created the Yount and Aaron statues.
Considering Aaron remains one of Selig's idols and closest friends in the game, and Selig always has considered Yount as a son, the Milwaukee native couldn't have been more proud when told he would be joining them at Home Plate Plaza.
"I'm very honored, grateful and proud," said Selig when reached at his downtown office.
"Nobody symbolizes the Brewers more than Robin, and everybody knows how I feel about Hank. It's really hard to express my feelings. I never could have dreamed anything like this."
It was the Allan H. (Bud) Selig Foundation that donated the statues of Aaron and Yount, which were unveiled on April 5, 2001, the first year of Miller Park.
Selig remains equally proud of his roles in bringing the Brewers to Milwaukee in 1970 and helping secure their future in the city by spearheading efforts to build Miller Park. Asked which quest was more daunting, he had trouble separating the two.
"They were both really difficult," he said. "They are similar in that one brought the team here and the other kept the team here. They both taught me a lot about patience and tenacity.
"All stadium battles are difficult. Ours was no different. We went through a lot of trauma along the way. And bringing a team back to Milwaukee, against odds that I don't think some people even understand today, I've always said that was my proudest accomplishment."
Selig said the oft-painful experience in getting Miller Park built has been rewarded on a yearly basis by the fan turnout, including attendances surpassing 3 million in each of the past two seasons.
"That's truly remarkable," he said. "It's astounding, when you consider this market size. That's really all the thanks I need."
Just as significant in returning the Brewers to a competitive mode was the economic system Selig helped put in place as commissioner during labor negotiations with the players association. The team received about $30 million in revenue sharing in 2009, allowing it to exceed $80 million in payroll.
Selig didn't have the benefit of such a system when he was owner of the Brewers, which made it difficult to survive financially and led to several down years for the franchise. He also led the movement to revamp baseball's playoff system, including the addition of a wild-card team, an innovation that allowed the Brewers to snap a 26-year playoff drought in 2008.
Selig's ownership group sold the club to a group led by Attanasio before the 2005 season. Now, his successors will honor his founding-father status in franchise history with a statue.
"You could never dream of anything like this," said Selig. "I can't really tell you what it means to me."
(story courtesy JSOnline)
(picture courtesy NBCSports)
Mr. Selig truly deserves this honor. Without this one man, the Milwaukee Brewers as we know them wouldn't be in existence. Summers in the state of Wisconsin would be long and boring without a team to follow. Although his later years of ownership and his tenure as commissioner have been frowned upon, he still is the man to thank for bringing baseball back to the great city of Milwaukee.
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