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Executive Rob Manfred to succeed Selig as MLB chief

BALTIMORE -- Major League Baseball will have a new boss from January after chief operating officer Rob Manfred was elected Thursday to succeed the long-serving Bud Selig as commissioner.

Manfred, who has served as a league executive since 1998, will become the 10th commissioner in Major League history, but his appointment didn't come without opposition.

Manfred fell one vote shy of the required 23 — 75 percent of 30 club representatives — during the initial balloting.

However, he was eventually elected unanimously in voting in which Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner was also a finalist.

The candidates spoke with owners on Wednesday, and met in sessions with groups of teams on Thursday.

U.S. media reported that MLB executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan withdrew before the first ballot.

Selig had said when he signed a new contract in 2012 that 2014 would be his final season at the helm, and in January he will walk away after a reign of more than 20 years.

Selig, 80, was owner of the Milwaukee Brewers before he took over as the interim commissioner in 1992 after owners voted out Fay Vincent.

He was named to the job on a permanent basis in 1998 and during his tenure Major League Baseball has grown into a US$9 billion business.

However, the game has also been stained by doping scandals, and the league's labor battles with players under Selig included the cancellation of the 1994 World Series as club owners took a hard line in a fight for profits they would eventually share.

Manfred joined the MLB office as the league's executive vice president of labor relations and human resources in 1998 and held that position for 14 years.

He successfully negotiated three successive agreements with the players association during that period, with the game having avoided a work stoppage during Manfred's entire time in office.

The 55-year-old also helped implement baseball's current drug testing program, one of the most stringent policies in sports.

“Without fanfare or glory, Rob has assembled a long and proven record of helping the game excel in fundamental ways,” said St. Louis Cardinals chief executive Bill DeWitt.

“He combines great intellect and forward-thinking creativity with unwavering respect for the contributions of the game's many constituents. The owners wholeheartedly support Rob's vision for the future of the national pastime, and we are proud that he will succeed Commissioner Selig in January.”

Manfred was promoted to MLB's executive vice president for economics and league affairs in 2012, and was made chief operating officer last year.

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