When Bud Selig officially steps down as commissioner of baseball in January, it will mark the end of the second-longest reign in the history of the sport.
Selig's legacy promises to be much-discussed in the coming months, with his handling of the league's steroid scandal, instant replay, and 1994 work stoppage among the many hot-button issues to debate.
But the person many feel is responsible for two of baseball's watershed moments - drug testing and labor peace - has already begun shaping his own reputation.
Here are five things you need to know about Rob Manfred, baseball's new commissioner:
Manfred, 55, was the lead negotiator for MLB in three of the most recent collective bargaining agreements. Baseball suffered a major black eye when the league canceled the 1994 World Series, making for high-stakes negotiating eight years later amid a steroid scandal threatening to sink the sport. Manfred is heralded as one of the main reasons the 2002, 2006, and 2011 CBAs were executed without a work stoppage.
A look at labor unrest among the Big Four sports since MLB's 1994 strike:
|2012||NHL||41-game shortened season|
|2011||NBA||66-game shortened season|
|2011||NFL||4-month offseason lockout|
|2004||NHL||Entire season lost/No Stanley Cup|
|1998||NBA||50-game shortened season|
With so many highly-contested issues on the table - drug testing, replay, revenue sharing, foreign imports, and draft bonuses (among others) - it's remarkable baseball has enjoyed 19 years of labor peace.
Tell that to Alex Rodriguez (see below).
Reinsdorf, a long-time supporter of Selig, was reportedly leading the charge against Manfred.
According to the New York Times, the Chicago White Sox owner believes Manfred has given too many concessions to the players' union and is concerned his influence under new leadership may be in jeopardy.
Mr. Reinsdorf’s allies say that after years of having a direct pipeline into Mr. Selig, the White Sox owner is concerned that his power could wane under Mr. Manfred; Mr. Reinsdorf has never been close to the 55-year-old deputy. Mr. Reinsdorf, a passionate advocate of owners’ taking a tougher stance with the players’ union and a central figure in the 1994-95 strike, is also driven by the belief that Mr. Manfred will not combat the union, with whom he has negotiated a series of collective bargaining agreements.
Manfred was a central figure in the league's case against Biogenesis and Rodriguez, helping broker a deal between Bosch and MLB that would result in the season-long suspension of the New York Yankees third baseman.
Manfred's account of the events included meeting Bosch at a Miami restaurant, six-figure payouts to the convicted dealer, and playing the role of middle man in a tale of drugs, money, and possible life-threatening violence.
Manfred has been associated with MLB for 20 years, serving as outside counsel during the 1994 strike as a partner at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. He was hired by the league in 1998 as executive vice president for labor relations and human resources.
He graduated from Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations and Harvard Law School before clerking for a United States District Court judge, prior to joining Morgan Lewis.
When he wasn't helping draft the toughest drug-testing policy in professional sports or ensuring nearly two decades of labor peace, Manfred assisted in the execution of the record-breaking sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Manfred reportedly played a significant role in the complicated $2-billion purchase of the team by Magic Johnson and his group of investors.
Said Manfred: "We think the purchase price paid is an indication of the overall financial health of the industry."
The sale was a world record for any sports team and three times higher than the previous record for a MLB franchise.