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Bud Selig: Time for baseball to plan for a successor

January 12, 2012 |  1:13 pm

Selig
After major league owners awarded him a contract extension Thursday that will keep him as baseball commissioner beyond his 80th birthday, Bud Selig said he would work on a plan for someone to succeed him.

"Yes," Selig said. "Of course."

Selig's contract had been scheduled to expire in December, and he had long said he intended to retire. No one in baseball believed him — even his wife publicly doubted him — in part because Major League Baseball never had launched a search for a successor.

"I meant what I said all along," Selig said. "My wife turned out to be right."

A parade of owners preceded Selig to the microphone after Thursday's vote, endorsing the commissioner's success and explaining how owners had asked him to stay on for another term.

"We implored him to do this," Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner said.

Said Selig: "Doing what's in the best interest of baseball — if so many people believe that and feel strongly about that — is something I should do."

Toronto Blue Jays Chief Executive Paul Beeston saluted Selig's ability to unify owners. In turn, Selig recalled how factions in ownership had hampered baseball's ability to avoid lockouts and strikes.

"The commissioner was fighting with the owners," Selig said. "The owners were fighting each other. Everybody was mad at the union. As a result, nothing happened."

The new collective bargaining agreement guarantees baseball 21 consecutive years of labor peace, through 2016.

Selig's contract now extends through 2014. He playfully declined to pledge anew that he would retire at the end of the contract.

"I'm not going to make any disclaimers this morning," he said.

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— Bill Shaikin in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Photo: Bud Selig. Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

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