Presidential History

Who's to Blame for the Mess in Iraq? How 'Bout Bud Selig?


Fun bit of history from venerable New York Times' sports columnist Murray Chass:

Bud Selig likes to refer to himself as a student of history, and in retrospect, the commissioner could have been part of history, a major part, having nothing to do with attendance records or wild cards. Not that he knew it then, in the mid-1990s, but Selig could have altered the course of recent history.

If only he had given the nod to George W. Bush when Bush, then the managing partner of the Texas Rangers, let it be known that he was interested in assuming the vacant office of baseball commissioner. That was before Bush entered politics and became the governor of Texas.

Selig had said he was not aware that Bush wanted to be commissioner, but plenty of other people in baseball ownership knew it, and Selig has always been in constant contact with owners and knows all. But Bush waited and waited for a signal from Selig, who as the head of the Major League Baseball executive council was the acting commissioner after the ouster of Fay Vincent from the office in September 1992.

Finally, Bush could wait no longer. The Texas Republican Party wanted him to run for governor and needed an answer. Hearing nothing from Selig, Bush ran for governor and won. The rest is history.

Call me a starry-eyed optimist, but I actually think it's actually a good thing that political society in America is held in low enough esteem that a failed businessman from a powerful family could "fall back" on the Texas governorship.  He doesn't have the chops to run baseball.  But Texas?  Meh.  Why not?

On a similar note, ever hear that old story about Fidel Castro turning to politics only after failing a tryout with the Washington Senators?  Urban legend.

NEXT: The Iraq War: A Look Back in Laughter

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  1. On a similar note, ever hear that old story about Fidel Castro turning to politics only after failing a tryout with the Washington Senators? Urban legend.

    Of course it is. No one ever failed a tryout with the Senators.

  2. You know, I’d been suggesting that from 1998-2001. Seriously, he’d have been happier, he’d probably be competent at that job, and the GOP would have had to find an new Presipuppet. They probably couldn’t have done worse could they?

  3. You know, if anybody could be worse for baseball than Bud Selig, it’d have to be George Bush.

  4. They probably couldn’t have done worse could they?

    Santorum for President!

  5. Thanks RC, I’d almost lost sight of the depths of stupidity that American politics can plumb.

  6. Hey, the Senators weren’t that bad. Every single season. The Spiders, on the other hand… oh dear me.

  7. Huh, I’d always thought it was the Baltimore Orioles who gave Fidel a pass, thus changing the course of history. Whatever, I think I’ll keep on believing it, because it’s just a good, entertaining myth.

    Perhaps Bolton can be the new commish when Selig retires. I hear he has some free time coming up.

  8. Impeach Bush Bud!

  9. Now that’s funny- I don’t care who you are!

  10. Amazing coincidences, or the eternal hand of fate?????

    Bud Selig’s wife has a *bush*. George Bush has never seen the movie *Zelig*.

    George Bush’e daughter has *genital* herpes. Bud Selig’s nephew has a *congenital* heart condition.

  11. The Snopes article reports that the urban legend has given rise to all sorts of “what if” speculation:

    Consider what might have turned out differently had Fidel taken up a career in professional baseball rather than politics: no revolution overthrowing the Batista regime, no establishment of a Soviet-aligned government in Cuba, and thus no Bay of Pigs or Cuban Missile Crisis — watershed events in the history of the Cold War.

    Me, I like to think of other consequences that might have resulted if Fidel had been a hot-shot pitcher and gotten hired by the Senators: the team might actually have had a shot at the pennant, instead of continually finishing in or near to the cellar; Clark Griffith might therefore not have felt compelled to move the team to Minnesota; the expansion team Senators wouldn’t have been created (only to move to Texas after the 1971 season), and thus there would have been no Texas Rangers for GWB to launch his career from.

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