Bud Selig will retire as commissioner of Major League Baseball when his contract expires after next season, ending more than two decades of leadership that included an era of labor peace after losing the 1994 World Series to a players strike.
Selig, 79, will officially step down on Jan. 24, 2015, when his contract expires.
The former Milwaukee Brewers owner became acting commissioner in 1992 following the resignation of Fay Vincent. He was voted into the position on a permanent basis by league owners in 1998 and, in his 22nd season, is second in tenure behind Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner, who led the sport from 1920 to 1944.
Selig previously delayed a planned retirement by signing a two-year contract extension in January 2012.
He oversaw the realignment of teams into three divisions in each league, the creation of interleague play and the expansion of the playoffs with wild-card entries for top non-division winners. He also helped baseball rebound from the 1994 strike and implemented professional sports' most comprehensive drug program through collective bargaining following an era of performance-enhancing-substance abuse that led to congressional inquiries.
Selig said he's completing a transition plan in preparation for his retirement, which will reorganize MLB's centralized management. A successor hasn't been announced.
Possible candidates to replace Selig include MLB Executive Vice Presidents Tim Brosnan, Rob Manfred and Joe Torre, and team owners or executives such as Dave Dombrowski of the Detroit Tigers, said Wayne McDonnell, an assistant professor of sports management at New York University.
Selig has overseen historic economic growth in baseball, implementing revenue sharing among the 30 major league teams and a competitive-balance tax on its highest-spending clubs, such as the New York Yankees. Baseball's total industry revenue was $1.2 billion when Selig took over in 1992. By 2012, MLB said, revenue had grown to $7.5 billion.