Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s Chief Operating Officer, has been elected as the next commissioner according to the Associated Press, beating out Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner for the league’s top post.
Manfred, who needed a three-quarters majority of 23 votes from the 30 MLB teams to win election, overcame a first ballot on which he came up one vote short to ultimately become MLB’s 10th commissioner by a unanimous count. Werner is part of the Red Sox ownership group that includes John Henry, owner of Boston Globe Media Group, parent company of Boston.com.
Werner, 64, the former San Diego Padres owner also known for a long career as a television producer, emerged as a darkhorse candidate for the position last week, drawing support from a handful of other owners, including the Chicago White Sox Jerry Reinsdorf, the Los Angeles Angles’ Arte Moreno and the Red Sox’s Henry.
The faction of owners who supported Werner’s candidacy preferred him over Manfred, MLB’s chief labor negotiator, in the hopes that the new commissioner would take a stronger stance against the MLBPA in negotiating the league’s next collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires following the 2016 season.
One sticking point in considering the current status of the sport leading up to the election has been its inability to keep up with the NFL and the NBA in appealing to younger generations of fans. Werner’s experience in television was thought to give him a leg up in terms of developing the game for the 21st century as well as finding new, innovative ways to enhance its appeal from an entertainment perspective.
According to CBSSports.com baseball writer Jon Heyman, seven teams held out for Werner even after Manfred had gained the 23 votes needed to win election before the eventual unanimous decision.