"It's unanimous. Official Major League Baseballs will feature a new signature next year.
"Rob Manfred was elected in a 30-0 vote Thursday to succeed Commissioner Bud Selig in January, becoming the 10th person to hold the industry's highest office.
"Five hours after deliberations began on the final day of the quarterly Owners Meetings, it was announced that Manfred, MLB's chief operating officer, will formally take over on Jan. 25. Selig has presided over the game for 22 remarkable years.
"'We've had quite an interesting day, a lengthy day,' Selig said. 'We had a significant number of votes, but in the end the vote was unanimous, 30-0. The process is complete.'
"Said Manfred: 'I'm tremedously honored by the confidence the owners showed in me. I have very big shoes to fill. (Selig) has been a friend and mentor for me the entire 25 years I've been in the game. There is no question that I would not be standing here today if it were not for Bud. And I hope I will perform in a way that adds to his great leagacy.'
"Selig's tenure resulted in a sweeping transformation of the game, including an unprecedented era in labor piece, a sharp rise in revenue and attendance, a string of new ballparks, improved competitive balance, instant replay, expanded playoffs, the most comprehensive drug-testing program among the major professional sports and the creation of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
"When Manfred, 55, was promoted to COO on Sept. 28, 2013, it put him directly in line to follow Selig. Since then he has overseen all traditional functions of the Commissioner's Office, including labor relations, baseball operations, finance, administration and club governance.
"But a seven-man search committee, headed by (St. Louis) Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr., eventually presented a slate of three candidates to the Executive Committee: Manfred, MLB's executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan and (Boston) Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.
"'We ended up with three very strong, highly-qualified candidates,' DeWitt said. 'In the end, Rob Manfred was elected because of his dynamic leadership, his passion for the game, his ability to lead the staff in New York, which he has done, and his overall ability to deal with labor issues and really all aspects of the game. When we put together the requirements for the next Commissioner, he really checked all the boxes.
"'You have to have broad-based support. And I think so many people in all aspects of the industry -- large, middle and small markets -- talked about how he was sensitive to their needs. He'll treat everyone equally. It's not about one club or one group of clubs. It's about all 30 clubs.'"
p>According to ESPN's Gordon Edes, Manfred faces some daunting challanges:
"But danger lurks in the shadows, and baseball cannot afford to be blinded by its own prosperity and overlook it. Last week's indictments of Tony Bosch and others after a DEA investigation only underscore how PEDs remain a blight upon the landscape, one not simply removed by the elimination of a few small-time operators. There was another lesson there, too, that exercising dubious means the way MLB did in taking down Alex Rodriguez -- under Manfred's direction -- can bring as much, or more, harm to an institution than good.
"Not much humanity there.
"There are other issues, too, that come at huge personal cost for the principals involved. Baseball currently celebrates the wonderful skills of such Cuban players as Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu and Yoenis Cespedes, but they cannot claim a place in the game without participating in an underwood rife with corruption and peril -- gangster smugglers and bribes and threats, like the one Cespedes received during a game while he was still in Oakland, demanding that he pay back the people who spirited him out of Cuba.
"Puig has faced similar threats. Baseball can no longer be party to such a system, one with which Manfred is intimately acquainted.
"And most of all, baseball cannot be smug about its success, and its fraying connection with the next generation of fans. It is one reason why a third of the owners during Thursday's balloting threw their support behind Tom Werner, the longtime television executive, believing that Werner might bring fresh ideas to grow the game.
"National TV ratings are down, complaints regarding the game's length are growing louder, the core audience is graying, and there has been an inability to raise the level of the game's greatest stars to that enjoyed by their basketball and football counterparts.
"Manfred, who had long ago displaced former MLB CEO Bob DuPuy as Selig's heir-in-waiting, was regarded by some owners, at least initially, as not ideally suited to take the game to new heights.
"In the end, Selig got his man a unanimous vote, the dissenters falling in line.
"'Rob was a very desirable candidate and will be a great commissioner of baseball,' said John Henry, the Red Sox principal owner who originally promoted the candidacy of his partner, Werner."