Brewers: The Life And Career Of Bud Selig Would Make Great ESPN Docuseries
By David Gasper
ESPN is currently in the midst of airing a very popular docu-series about Michael Jordan, and former Brewers owner Bud Selig would make a great subject for a documentary series himself.
It’s pretty difficult to have not paid any attention to ESPN’s 10-part documentary series “The Last Dance” about the career of Michael Jordan over the past few weeks. Even if you haven’t been watching it, you’ve likely heard about it.
With sports around the country shut down, ESPN has been pushing up the release of their documentary projects they had in the works and scheduled for later in the year. This way, they can fill the time while we wait for sports to come back.
We’ve already seen reports that ESPN will also have documentaries on Roy Halladay and the 1998 home run chase coming up soon. But the big documentary series we really need is one on the life and career of Allan H. “Bud” Selig.
Why Bud Selig?
There are so many interesting storylines and things to talk about with Selig’s career. To start off with, the process of going from a car leasing business to buying the Seattle Pilots and creating the Milwaukee Brewers would be extremely interesting. We know he had been trying for years to get baseball back in Milwaukee after the Braves left, and the Pilots were his last chance.
The early years of Selig owning the team and getting the Brewers up and running and trying to get them towards contention would be cool to see more of, but that’s not even the juiciest stuff.
There’s the orchestration of the Cecil Cooper trade, which worked out extremely in the Brewers favor and helped them get to the 1982 World Series.
Then there’s the transition to the Commissioner’s Office. He became the acting Commissioner in 1992 and worked baseball through the strike of 1994. It would be extremely interesting to hear all of his thoughts on that and what people who worked around him would say.
Selig became the official Commissioner in 1998 as baseball expanded yet again and his former team, the Milwaukee Brewers, transitioned from the AL to the NL.
There are so many things that Selig did for baseball, whether you love them or not, as Commissioner that it is well worth an entire docuseries. He brought in the Wild Card to the playoffs, introduced Interleague play, helped organize the World Baseball Classic, and introduced revenue sharing, which has helped the values of franchises rise dramatically.
There’s the 2002 All Star Game debacle that I’m sure the entire nation would love to hear more of his thinking on, and the decision to have the All Star Game determine home-field advantage in the World Series. Also, explaining how he navigated the steroid crisis in the late ’90s and early ’00s would be fascinating to watch.
Selig’s greatest accomplishment may have been keeping labor peace ever since that 1994 strike, as MLB had been dealing with labor disputes quite often over the several years prior. We’re going on 26 years now of labor peace.
Selig retired in 2015 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2017. He has a statue outside Miller Park and his name is hung in the rafters. We also have the “Selig Experience” in Miller Park that covers a lot of this, but not everyone can make a trip to Miller Park to see it. These stories deserve to be told to the baseball world at large.
There are so many stories to be told from Selig’s tenure as team owner, and then as MLB Commissioner. Hearing these stories from Selig, and likely Bob Uecker would be a big contributor as well, would make for a fantastic documentary series.
Hopefully ESPN or MLB Network or some sports network will decide to make a documentary series on the life and career of Bud Selig, baseball’s biggest fan.
Love him or hate him for the decisions he made as Commissioner, but you knew Selig loved the game of baseball and was doing what he thought was best for the sport. I don’t think that same thing can be said about current Commissioner Rob Manfred.