If Bud Selig is a HOF’er can Arnold Rothstein be far behind?

Bud Selig is all but certain to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend, which will qualify as MLB’s biggest mistake since the owners installed The Used Car Salesman as commissioner.

How bad was Bud? Check out this laughable tribute by Craig Calcaterra to the man he called the best commissioner ever:

Now to be clear, Part II: many of those innovations and accomplishments were only made possible by Selig’s own past failures. We would not think much of labor peace — nor would it be as attainable — if Selig had not spearheaded the group of owners who (a) overthrew former commissioner Fay Vincent; (b) installed Selig in his place; and (c) declared war against the union and fomented the player’s strike which cost us the 1994 World Series.

Likewise, PEDs would not have gotten to the crisis point they became if Selig and his comrades had not ignored it as it took hold and created an atmosphere of rancor and distrust with the players which prevented either side from addressing PEDs before, say, dealing with all of the messed up financial issues.

Sure, he was a spectacular fuck-up but a master of supplication.

Of course there were plenty of other failures. Remember the contraction scheme intended to bail out Twins owner Carl Pohlad, who at the time was the game’s richest owner? Bud also nearly destroyed one of baseball’s signature franchises by allowing a heavily leveraged parking lot magnate from Boston purchase the Dodgers.

McCourt was valuable to baseball because of the parcels of land (parking lots) he owned in Boston that could be used as a potential new home for the Red Sox. …

There were other candidates with far better pedigrees: Los Angeles developer and philanthropist Eli Broad offered to buy the team, mostly with cash. Former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth formed a group to look into purchasing the team, as did Los Angeles real estate mogul Alan Casden. All had more money, visibility and ties to L.A. than the McCourts did.

This failure was corrected, not by Bud, but by the McCourt’s divorce. Under his watch the owners of the Rangers and Cubs also declared bankruptcy.

The UCS hasn’t done the Braves any favors, either, allowing them to be treated as a tax write-off by an out-of-town media conglomerate that could care less about the team’s performance. A strong commissioner wouldn’t have let the previous corporate owners negotiate a long-term TV contract, well below market price, that served only to line Time Warner’s pockets.

This was the same commissioner who wouldn’t let the Mets don unofficial 9/11 caps, instead forcing them to wear commemorative caps being sold for $30 on mlb.com. And how ’bout those Spider-Man logos on the bases?

The game’s gone from a national to regional pastime during Selig’s tenure, and blacks have virtually disappeared from rosters and the stands. Bud fretted about this publicly, but what did he actually do about it?

Not much, says Luther Campbell (the 2 Live Crew guy is actually a sharp dude), who noted that while the NFL invests money into developing African American little league and high school athletes in his native Miami, “the baseball field is sorely neglected. The city doesn’t even water the grass there. Selig and the Miami Marlins have not lived up to their commitment of developing youth baseball programs in parks like Charles Hadley.”

He continues, “If Selig really cared about the lack of African American representation in the big leagues, he would mandate every team support little league clubs and high school teams in places like Overtown, Brownsville, Liberty City, and Miami Gardens.”

And  there’s more. Remember The Baseball Network, which regionalized the playoffs, preventing fans in NL cities from watching the ALCS, and vice-versa? How ’bout the way he’s let the A’s twist in the wind?

Then there’s his role in collusion, which, as Joe Sheehan notes, “may have cost his team a division title while spearheading an approach that would end up costing MLB owners $280 million across three separate judgments and queering relations with the MLBPA for the next two decades.”

Finally, let’s not gloss over the ’94 strike, which Sheehan recalls correctly as “(t)he single most destructive act towards baseball in my lifetime.”

The revisionists and contrarians have had their say, but the record is clear. Bud Selig was the worst thing to happen to baseball in any lifetime.

On top of everything else, he’s even partly to blame for George W. Bush’s presidency. W. wanted to be baseball commissioner, and Bud said he would support him until stabbing him in the back, just as he did Fay Vincent.

Heckuva job, Buddy!

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7 comments

  1. Before Bud stabbed Fay Vincent in the back in 1992, MLB was on par with NFL in popularity. After 22+ yrs, Bud turned MLB into a regional sport and the equivalent of the Milwaukee Brewers.

  2. He drove MLB into a ditch and declared victory. Where have we heard that before? He’s a man of his times.

    I think the worst thing was the PEDS.

  3. And you left out his allowing an underfinanced one-time art dealer to effectively trade ownership of the Expos for ownership of the Marlins so John Henry could acquire the Bosox from the Yawkey estate. But hey, now the All-Star Game counts!

    I’m no fan of the NFL, but its ownership ranks seem to be filled with solidly capitalized local billionaires rather than out-of-town corporations or dodgy types like the McCourts. But for years, Selig promoted questionable owners because they’d back him up during meetings. I’m outraged that there’s a statue of him outside the stadium in Milwaukee near that of the great Henry Aaron.

  4. Said it before and I’ll say it again: Craig Calcaterra is an addled twerp and (as a self identified Braves “fan”) a prime example of the phrase “With friends like you, who needs enemies?”

    Sheehan (who I otherwise disagree with on one whole hell of a lot) has been among the harshest (and best) critics of Allen H. “Bud” Selig’s tenure.

  5. I think Calcaterra’s point was that Selig was up to the task of being loathsome and acting solely in the best interests of the owners which tends to be the job description for league commissioner.

  6. I’ll add in that thanks to Bud, the best first basemen of the era, Fred McGriff, has not gotten into the Hall of Fame. Other lesser players exceeded his numbers thanks to steroids and the strike robbed him of 500 homers and perhaps the best season of his career.

  7. Numerous writers, most of whom should know better, seem to have concluded that since Selig is in the Hall, it’s a free pass for them to vote for Bonds, Clemens, et. al. That would be a fitting final legacy for that asshole.

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