SEE ALSO: Hall of Fame Archives
Bud Selig, credited for shepherding baseball into a new modern era as commissioner from 1992-2015, and John Schuerholz—who helped build the Royals and Braves into world champions–were elected to the Hall of Fame Sunday by the Today’s Era Committee.
Selig’s legacy includes the introduction of interleague play and instant replay, but on the other side of the ledger are the 1994-95 strike in which he canceled the 1994 World Series, and the rise of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport.
Selig and Schuerholz were voted in by the Today's Game Era Committee, which considers candidates from 1988 to now including executives, players, managers and umpires with at least 10 years in the game. Seventy-five percent of the vote from a 16-member panel was needed for election, and the panel included owners such as Bill DeWitt (Cardinals) and David Glass (Royals), and executives such as Andy MacPhail (Phillies), Kevin Towers (Reds) and Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), as well as Pat Gillick, just named as the winner of the Roland Hemond Award.
Selig and Schuerholz will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 30, 2017—Selig’s 83rd birthday—along with players elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America, to be announced on Jan. 18.
Schuerholz is just the fifth general manager to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and the first one since Gillick. Schuerholz won World Series with the 1985 Royals and 1995 Braves.
Schuerholz, 76, joined the Braves as general manager in 1990 after spending two decades in the Kansas City Royals' front office. He stepped aside in March as president of the Braves, but took an advisory role as vice chairman and remains active in the organization.
In recent years, Schuerholz has been credited with jump-starting the Braves' massive rebuilding project by revamping the player development department, beginning with the firing of GM Frank Wren and the hiring of John Hart.
"What John Schuerholz did–14 straight titles–will never be done again," Braves GM John Coppolella said in March. "He's a sure-fire Hall of Famer for a myriad of reasons. First and foremost he's a baseball man through and through. He's a great evaluator of players. He gets everyone involved. He's a great leader. Look at everything with the Royals have done. He trained Dayton Moore. We're so fortunate to have him."
Schuerholz was a unanimous choice, while Selig received 15 votes; Lou Piniella got seven votes, while Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Mark McGwire and George Steinbrenner each received fewer than five votes.
Schuerholz began his career in the game in 1968 as a personal assistant to Orioles director of player development Lou Gorman. Two years later, Gorman joined the front office of the expansion Royals, and Schuerholz went with him.
"I'm speechless almost," Schuerholz said on a conference call with reporters. "What a remarkable honor and I'm so very, very proud to have received the call and the invitation to join baseball's Hall of Fame."
Selig, the winner of the Roland Hemond Award in 2015, went from fan of the Milwaukee Braves to baseball owner when in 1970, he purchased the Seattle Pilots in bankruptcy court and renamed them the Milwaukee Brewers. He became interim commissioner in 1992 upon the resignation of Fay Vincent and took on the role permanently in 1998, serving until 2015, when Rob Manfred succeeded him.
"To say this is a significant day in my life would be an understatement. I consider myself very fortunate,” Selig said on a conference call with reporters.