CLEVELAND - Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced on Thursday that he will step down in January 2015.
The 79-year-old said he will announce a transition plan soon that will include a reorganization of central baseball management.
Selig bought the Seattle Pilots in bankruptcy court in 1970 and moved the team to Milwaukee. He was part of the group that forced Fay Vincent's resignation.
Selig took over as acting commissioner on Sept. 9, 1992 from his role as chairman of the executive council. He repeatedly said he would not take the job full time, but was formally elected commissioner July 9, 1998. He agreed to new contracts in 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2012.
Cleveland Indians president and former general manager Mark Shapiro reflected on Selig's history to NewsChannel5 sports director Andy Baskin.
"Commissioner Selig has overseen an unprecedented period of growth in our game, but what has always impressed me is his enduring appreciation for and love of the game of baseball and its rich history," Shapiro said.
"He has used this passion for the game as a bond to unite all owners and teams to act in the best interest of the game. The game will always be indebted to him and we, and all that work in the game, will miss his leadership when he steps down."
Shapiro's name will be in the mix among strong candidates to replace Selig.