Minneapolis — Bud Selig oversaw his final All-Star Game as Major League Baseball’s commissioner Tuesday, assuming he follows through with his plans to retire in January.
Selig, 79, has held the post since 1998, the second-longest run of any baseball commissioner, and said he will have input on who will take over for him next year.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has been one of the names mentioned as Selig’s replacement, and although he couldn’t discuss candidates, Selig holds Dombrowski in the highest regard.
“I’m a great fan of Dave Dombrowski,” Selig said. “Dave has had a remarkable baseball career, a wonderful career, and Dave is one of my favorite baseball executives. He’s been a great executive and better than that he’s a great human being.”
The decision ultimately will be made by the owners, led by Bill DeWitt Jr. of the Cardinals, but Dombrowski has the resume to be considered. He’s worked in professional baseball the past 36 years and has received various executive of the year honors with the Tigers and Marlins, where he won a World Series as general manager in 1997.
Reforming the game
Selig discussed several topics during a luncheon with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
After he retires, Selig said he may continue to have some involvement with the league, most likely with some of the philanthropic projects.
Asked what the proudest part of his legacy is, Selig said the “economic reformation” of the sport. Baseball is a sport resistant to change, and he feels he’s made changes that have helped the league move forward in terms of both appeal and revenue.
Selig also spoke glowingly about the league’s testing for performance-enhancing drugs, noting it is the only league to test for human growth hormones.
“As I leave next January, one of the things I’m proudest of, amazing story how this sport went from no drug testing to having the best program there is,” he said.
Selig is also proud of how replay has worked this season, though he said league officials will continue to make tweaks to improve the system.
“Other sports have had instant replay, and I don’t have to tell you they’ve had all kinds of problems with it,” he said. “I’m very pleased.”
On a more somber topic, the league will continue to try to educate players about the dangers of smokeless tobacco, especially in the wake of Tony Gwynn’s recent death from salivary gland cancer.
“This is a matter of health,” he said. “I understand individuals have a right to make their own decisions. … All we can do is educate them and hope we’re successful because the Tony Gwynn story, as you well know, is a heartbreaking story.”