The owners of Major League Baseball's 30 Clubs Thursday unanimously elected Robert D. Manfred, Jr. as the 10th Commissioner in the sport's history. The unanimous election of Manfred, who is currently MLB's Chief Operating Officer under Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, was announced today by St. Louis Cardinals Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Bill DeWitt, Jr., who served as chairman of the Succession Committee established by the Major League Executive Council. The vote was conducted prior to the conclusion of the quarterly owners meetings.
DeWitt said: "The Succession Committee was tasked with finding a dynamic leader capable of sustaining the remarkable prosperity achieved under Commissioner Selig. Equally important, we sought an executive who will ensure that our game takes important strides forward in the future. In Rob Manfred, we have found that leader.
"Without fanfare or glory, Rob has assembled a long and proven record of helping the game excel in fundamental ways. He combines great intellect and forward-thinking creativity with unwavering respect for the contributions of the game's many constituents. The owners wholeheartedly support Rob's vision for the future of the National Pastime, and we are proud that he will succeed Commissioner Selig in January."
Commissioner Selig said: "The unanimous vote of the owners reflects our industry's position that Rob Manfred is the best person to lead our game forward. Having worked with Rob for more than 20 years, and knowing the training he has had within our great game, I believe he is an outstanding choice who will bring true passion and leadership to Major League Baseball."
Manfred, 55, joined Major League Baseball in 1998 as Executive Vice President, Labor Relations & Human Resources. In that capacity, Manfred directed all negotiations related to collective bargaining with the Major League Baseball Players Association and the World Umpires Association. Under Manfred's oversight of the day-to-day talks, MLB reached three successive labor agreements (2002, 2006 and 2011) with the MLBPA without incurring a strike or a lockout. The historic 2002 pact represented the first in more than 30 years that was settled between the two parties without a work stoppage, compared to eight work stoppages during the previous three decades. Baseball is currently in the midst of an unprecedented period of labor peace that will span no less than 21 years, through at least the 2016 season.
The ensuing labor agreements of 2006 and 2011 continued to execute Commissioner Selig's vision of economic reform and the revitalization of competitive balance on the field. Mechanisms such as increased revenue sharing, more aggressive payroll taxes and strict debt regulation have resulted in a more competitive landscape. Nine different Clubs have won the 13 World Series since 2001, while 26 Clubs have participated in the Postseason in the last decade, despite the most exclusive playoff field in the major American professional sports. The 2013 Postseason included more teams from the game's 10 lowest payrolls (four) than from its 10 highest payrolls (three).
On behalf of Commissioner Selig, Manfred carried out Major League Baseball's ascent to the most comprehensive drug testing program in American professional sports via collective bargaining with the MLBPA. MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program includes the strongest deterrents in pro sports, landmark blood testing for the detection of human Growth Hormone (hGH) and a longitudinal profiling program, among other groundbreaking efforts.
On September 30th, 2013, Commissioner Selig promoted Manfred from EVP, Economics & League Affairs to Chief Operating Officer. In his current position, Manfred has overseen all of the traditional functions of the Commissioner's Office, including labor relations, baseball operations, baseball development, finance and administration. In all of his roles with MLB, Manfred has worked closely with Club management executives and has addressed a variety of the industry's economic, governance and policy issues. He has represented MLB on major club economic matters, technology integration (such as this season's new system of expanded instant replay), player safety efforts and player alumni relations.
Manfred said: "I am truly honored to have been elected by the Clubs of Major League Baseball, and I will work every day to honor their faith and support. I humbly extend my gratitude to all of our Clubs. I also thank Bud Selig for his mentorship, friendship and his record of accomplishment as our sport's Commissioner. We have the greatest game in the world, and together, all of the contributors to our sport can make its future even brighter."
Prior to joining Major League Baseball, Manfred was a partner in the Labor and Employment Law Section in the Washington, D.C. office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, with which he served Baseball as outside counsel. Manfred received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and received his law degree magna cum laude in 1983 from Harvard Law School, where he was an articles editor of the Harvard Law Review. Following law school, the native of upstate New York served as a clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro in the District of Massachusetts. Rob and his wife, Colleen, have four children.
On September 26th, 2013, Commissioner Selig announced that he would retire upon the completion of his term, which runs through January 24th, 2015. Selig has led Major League Baseball since September 9th, 1992, when, as Chairman of the Executive Council, he became interim Commissioner. He was officially elected Baseball's ninth Commissioner on July 9, 1998.
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