Owners elect Rob Manfred as next MLB commissioner

Rob Manfred, MLB's current chief operating officer, was elected the league's next commissioner Thursday.
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Rob Manfred, MLB's current chief operating officer, was elected the league's next commissioner Thursday, according to multiple reports. Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times was first to report the news. 

Manfred was elected unanimously, outgoing commissioner Bud Selig said at a press conference. However, the unanimous vote was just a symbolic measure, according to various reports. A minimum of 23 votes were needed for a candidate to win the commissionership. Once Manfred secured the 23rd vote, the seven dissenters agreed to change their votes as well, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Current commissioner Bud Selig will be stepping down in January after announcing his retirement last September.

Manfred beat out Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner to win the vote.  MLB executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan had also been a finalist, but dropped out of the race earlier Thursday, as reported by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

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Best known for successfully negotiating three labor contracts and the joint drug agreement with the players as MLB's executive vice president for labor relations and human resources, Manfred has been involved with MLB since 1987, beginning as a lawyer with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

He ascended to his position as top labor executive in 1998, and had his role expanded to executive vice president of economics and league affairs in 2012. Manfred was promoted to COO last September.

As Selig's desired pick to succeed him as commissioner, Manfred had been considered the front-runner to win the owners' vote. Werner, a television executive who owned the San Diego Padres from 1990-94 and re-entered the league by helping front the group that bought the Red Sox in 2002, emerged as a surprise contender last week, but wasn't able to garner sufficient support.

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Werner, 64, received his strongest support from White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who was reportedly at odds with Selig over his favoring of Manfred. Selig issued a statement last week refuting any contentiousness between he and Reinsdorf.

Selig, 80, a former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, has been in charge of baseball since 1992, when he became chairman of baseball's executive council. He was named commissioner in 1998.

Selig's tenure was marked by expansion to 30 teams, as well as consistent economic and media growth. His tenure brought controversy as well, as Selig presided over the Steroids Era, canceled the 1994 World Series in the wake of a players' strike and made the All-Star Game decide homefield advantage in the World Series after the 2002 game ended in a tie.

The owners began their meetings to determine the next commissioner on Wednesday. Balloting occurred Thursday.

Ben Estes