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The Winter Meetings kicked off with big news on Sunday as the newly formed Today’s Game Era Committee elected former commissioner Bud Selig and long-time executive John Schuerholz to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The new 16-person committee was formed last year after the Hall of Fame overhauled its Veteran’s Committee set up. Their task was to meet, discuss and then vote on 10 Hall of Fame candidates during baseball’s most recent era, which they’ve defined as 1980 until the present.
Candidates needed 75 percent of the votes for election. It’s reported Shuerholz was a unanimous selection, while Selig received 15 of 16 votes from committee members. Legendary player and manager Lou Piniella was the next closest among the candidates, finishing with seven votes.
Coming into Sunday, Selig had been considered the most likely candidate to get elected. He’ll be far from the most popular Hall of Famer from a fan’s perspective, but his job all along was to serve the owners and grow the game. Selig was at the helm for the 1994 strike, and was roundly criticized for turning a blind eye when steroids entered the game, but he steered the ship out of the storm and into prosperity.
Under Selig, baseball added interleague play, instant replay, and the World Baseball Classic, all of which were considered steps forward. There were misses too, such as allowing the All-Star game to determine home field in the World Series. But the bottomline is baseball’s revenue increased from $1.9 billion in 1993 to $95 billion in Selig’s final season.
Selig will be the fourth commissioner inducted into the Hall of Fame, and the honor will come on his 83rd birthday.
As the first general manager to win a World Series in both the AL and NL, John Schuerholz entered the debate with an accolade no executive could lay claim to. That undoubtedly helped his case, as the committee ultimately rewarded him with a selection. Of course, Schuerholz is mostly known for his tenure with the Braves, which produced 14 division championships between 1991 and 2005. The Braves only managed one World Series win during that time, but their sustained success was a landmark in baseball history.
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