NEW: Outgoing commissioner Bud Selig says there were "a significant number of votes"
NEW: Rob Manfred says he has "very big shoes to fill"
Selig is retiring from the job he's held for more than 20 years
Manfred spent 15 years as MLB's executive vice president of labor relations
After 22 years with Bud Selig in charge, Major League Baseball didn’t look far for his replacement – tapping Selig’s right-hand man and longtime league executive Rob Manfred as its next commissioner.
Owners of the 30 Major League teams elected Manfred during their quarterly meetings Thursday in Baltimore, the league announced on Twitter.
While Selig noted afterward there had been “a significant number of votes,” he said Manfred ultimately was elected unanimously – surpassing the 23 votes that he needed to get the job – as MLB’s 10th ever commissioner.
“It’s been a great day for baseball, and I’m very pleased tonight and proud that we did it,” Selig said.
Manfred spent 15 years as MLB’s executive vice president of labor relations, during which time he represented the league in reaching collective bargaining agreements with players in 2002, 2006 and 2011 – without any work stoppages, as happened several times in the 1980s and 1990s.
In September 2013, the lawyer by training became the league’s chief operating officer, overseeing “all of the traditional functions of the commissioner’s office, including labor relations, baseball operations, finance, administration and club governance,” according to his official bio.
Manfred reported directly to the man he is now succeeding, Allan “Bud” Selig.
A former car salesman and owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, Selig ascended to the commissioner’s job in 1992 following the resignation of Fay Vincent and remained there through his official election to the post six years later.
Selig, 80, announced last fall that he’d retire as commissioner, effective this coming January.
Manfred referenced his soon-to-be predecessor in remarks to reporters, saying that he has “very big shoes to fill.”
“I hope that I will perform as the 10th commissioner in a way that will add to (Selig’s) great legacy,” Manfred said.