Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Bud Selig has earned a 2013 Honorary Doctorate from the United States Sports Academy for guiding America’s pastime to record profits and attendance and through the contentious “steroids era.”
Selig, who has served at the helm of baseball since 1992, received the honor Friday, Dec. 13 at his Milwaukee office from Academy Board of Trustee Jack Scharr, Fine Art Ltd. president.
Early on in his tenure, Selig pledged to eliminate performance enhancing drugs from the game. He is responsible for overseeing and instituting several rule changes and penalties to cleanse the game from PEDs.
In the latest debacle this year involving a Miami anti-aging clinic named Biogenesis, Selig has taken a tough stance. He suspended 14 players for at least 50 games, including New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez for 211 games. The player suspensions are the most to be imposed simultaneously in the history of organized baseball.
“Major League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports,” said Selig in a statement announcing the suspensions. “I am proud of the comprehensive nature of our efforts.”
As the Commissioner of Baseball, many credit Selig for introducing revenue sharing and leading the financial turnaround of baseball. Baseball revenue overall jumped from $1.2 billion in 1992 to an estimated $8 billion this year.
The 79-year-old Selig is the ninth Commissioner and approved by MLB owners to say on until the end of the 2014 season. During his tenure, he oversaw baseball through the 1994 strike, the introduction of the wild card, interleague play, and the merging of the National and American Leagues under the Office of the Commissioner. He was instrumental in organizing the World Baseball Classic in 2006. Selig also commissioned The Mitchell Report, which concluded that the MLB commissioners, club officials, the Players Association, and the players all shared responsibility for the growing use of performance enhancing drugs.
Selig, a Milwaukee native and resident today, was previously the team owner and team president of the Milwaukee Brewers and is widely heralded for keeping baseball there. He purchased the Seattle Pilots in 1970 and renamed them the Milwaukee Brewers. The team went on to the 1982 World Series and won seven organization of the year awards under his leadership.