The Next Commissioner of Baseball

This Bud's for you.

This Bud’s not for you.

Bud Selig, a most mediocre commissioner—doubling for a spell as an owner—of Major League Baseball (MLB), will step down in early 2015. By meting out a devastating if circumscribed series of suspensions for PED use, especially to Alex Rodriguez (August 5, 2013), Selig is attempting to leave a legacy for cleaning up the sport.

Rodriguez surely is no Boy Scout. But does his behavior merit a suspension three or four times longer in duration than the next-closest player? Scapegoating in the name of establishing a lasting image of toughness won’t work.

Whatever one thinks of Selig, the identity of his successor is top secret. I (Evander) will float a few nominees of my own.

My first choice is Bill White. The negatives loom large: age (he will be eighty in 2014, same as Selig), a not-always-diplomatic temperament, and a likely unwillingness to accept the job if offered. To be the first African-American to hold the highest post in baseball, however, would crown an amazing career: player, broadcaster, league president, author.

A more likely choice and another former player with roots in the Players Association is Joe Torre. Following his days as a catcher and third baseman, Torre became an unsuccessful manager, a fine broadcaster, a successful manager, and an executive of MLB.

Torre is younger than White, but not in the prime of his post-playing career. What about another Joe—Girardi? Like Torre, Girardi was a catcher. He was a player rep and trained as an engineer with his mathematical mind. Girardi has won Manager of the Year kudos and knows how to liaise among players and officials.

A dark-horse candidate for the position had a much larger one earlier in life. George W. Bush had been co-owner of the Texas Rangers and has expressed interest in returning to baseball.

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About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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