Bud Selig: "We Got Rid" Of Steroids

The former MLB commissioner discussed the Steroid Era, his book and his complicated legacy, among other topics, during a candid in-studio interview

Tiki and Tierney
July 08, 2019 - 8:12 pm

Bud Selig dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Monday for an in-studio appearance on Tiki & Tierney, during which he discussed numerous topics, including his commissionership and new book, “For the Good of the Game: The Inside Story of the Surprising and Dramatic Transformation of Major League Baseball."

Selig, 84, served as MLB commissioner from 1998 to 2015 and will forever be associated with the Steroid Era. He was asked if he embraces or resents that aspect of his legacy.

“Neither,” he said. “I don’t embrace it, and I don’t resent it. I know what I did, and that’s a really fair question. What I said to myself and Rob Manfred, we did everything we could from ’98 on. I could detail every year for you. By the way, the theory that we like (steroid use) because it increased attendance – attendance went down in ’99 after ’98, after McGwire, Sosa. It only picked up again in the last 11 or 12 years of my commissionership to record levels when we had the toughest testing. Just the opposite is true.”

As Selig explained, drug-related offenses can be complex, particularly in terms of policing and punishing. Steve Howe – who was NL Rookie of the Year in 1980, a World Series champion in 1981 and an All-Star in 1982 – committed numerous drug-policy violations during his career, which ended in 1996. 

“We suspended him seven times, and he came back every time,” Selig said. “The union fought it for whatever reason. I’m sensitive about it. I hired Senator Mitchell to do a complete study, which he did – which is I think the only time an American sport has ever hired a company from the outside. But I felt so strongly.”

Selig was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017, this after garnering 93.7 percent of the vote.

“I know some people (said) when I got in the Hall of Fame, ‘Well, he was the commissioner during the Steroid Era,’” Selig said. ”But we got rid of it. We did what we had to do. Was it difficult? Yeah, because unilaterally I’d have done (it) in 2000 in the big leagues if I could have. But you couldn’t.”