Winter Meetings interview with John Schuerholz, Bud Selig

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us. We have Jeff Idelson, president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, executives John Schuerholz and Commissioner Emeritus Allan H. "Bud" Selig, as well as chairman of the board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Jane Forbes Clark.

JANE FORBES CLARK: Thank you, and good morning. Thank you all for being here today. As you know, the National Baseball Hall of Fame's 16-member Today's Game Era committee met here in Washington yesterday to consider ten candidates for Hall of Fame elections, whose greatest contributions to the game were realized from 1988 through to the present.

The ballot selected by an 11-member historical overview committee of the Baseball Writers' Association of America was comprised of five former players, two managers and three executives.

I'd like now to introduce you to the 16 members of the Today's Game Era Committee, some of whom are here today in the front row, and as I introduce you, I'd love it if you would stand and remain standing: Bill Center, Bobby Cox, Andre Dawson, Pat Gillick, Steve Hirdt, Tim Kurkjian and Andy MacPhail.

Some members of the committee could not be here this morning, and they are Roberto Alomar, Paul Beeston, Bill DeWitt, Dennis Eckersley, David Glass, Don Sutton, Ozzie Smith and Kevin Towers.

On behalf of the board of directors from the Hall of Fame, I would very much like to thank all these gentlemen for their wonderful work yesterday.

You heard last night on MLB Network the results of this committee's work. They elected John Schuerholz and Commissioner Emeritus Selig to one of sport's most elite fraternities.

They are both here today to be introduced for the very first time as members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

As I introduce them, we first welcome a man who spent half of a century dedicated to our national pastime. In his 26 years as general manager of the Kansas City Royals and the Atlanta Braves, his team won 2,348 games, an average of more than 90 wins per season. He constructed six pennant-winning teams and won World Series titles in both Kansas City and Atlanta, becoming the first general manager to build world championship teams in both the American League and the National League. His tenure in Atlanta began an historic 14 consecutive playoff appearances.

Please welcome to the National Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2017, John Schuerholz.

The committee elected another executive to the Hall of Fame yesterday. He brought baseball back to Milwaukee as the founding owner of his beloved Brewers. He went on to hold the game's top job as Commissioner for 22 years, second-longest tenure in the history of that office. In his time as Commissioner, he over saw numerous developments to carry our national pastime well into the future, including of the expansion of the MLB teams to 30, two Wild Card teams and the start of umpire video replay.

He now joins the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2017. Congratulations, Commissioner.

They have both served baseball with great integrity and great success. They now join the ranks of the all-time greats of the game and we are so happy to welcome them to Cooperstown. And now I'd like to ask you both to stand so that we can present you with a jersey of the best team you've ever been a part of.

We are looking forward to our induction ceremony in Cooperstown on July 30, when John and Bud will be joined by any electees from the BWAA voting.

JOHN SCHUERHOLZ: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for being here. This is a very exciting moment in my life; the most exciting in my professional career, and how fitting it is for me to be inducted along with Commissioner Selig.

We have worked together on a number of major projects in Major League Baseball. Thanks to his consistence year after year, he thought I would be a good chairman for any committee he ever came up with. We got to know each other very well and have mutual respect. I want to thank Jane Forbes Clark and Jeff Idelson for your membership in the committee and your indulgence and consideration.

I'm very honored by this and it's the highlight of my professional career. I've enjoyed some success in some organizations because of good people and I join the greatest good people in our industry in the Hall of Fame. So I'm very, very proud of that and honored by that, and I hope that I will live up to the standards that the folks in the Hall of Fame have set.

I never dreamed that this would happen to me. If this is a dream, I hope I don't wake up from it, because this is a sterling moment in my life; the Shangri-La, if you will, of my life.

I thank the Baseball Hall of Fame for your consideration and for this great honor. Thank you very much.

BUD SELIG: Thank you very much. First of all, I just wanted to thank Jane, Jeff and those of you who voted on the committee.

I've done a lot of thinking in the last week or so. Some of you who know me well know I was a little nervous. But when I think of myself as a kid growing up, and in your wildest dreams, you couldn't imagine the things that would happen to me for the last 40 or 50 years, and certainly the last 25. And so this is not only the greatest honor that I've ever received, I don't think there's any question about that. But to be included in the Hall of Fame in a sport that I love, it really has left me almost speechless, and I'm not speechless that often.

I do want to say to John Schuerholz, it is true, we have worked together for a long time. The things that we've talked about here today that took place, that resulted from when he and I got together, he did the work. I know when I left the Commissionership and look back to bringing baseball back to Milwaukee and the many things that happen -- I thank all of you. This is an absolutely magnificent moment in one's life, and today I am just very, very grateful. Thank you.

Q. Congratulations to both of you. John, this question is for you. Your election to the Baseball Hall of Fame makes five men from that magnificent 14-year run; Chipper is going to be six. Is there anybody else in that 14-year run who might join you someday?
JOHN SCHUERHOLZ: Well, I hope so. But I think the number that we have is pretty awesome. I want to say this: How honored it is for me, you name players and people from the Braves' organization; and for me to have worked with Bobby Cox, this icon of a human being and baseball expert and manager. For 17 years, he as manager and myself at general manager and to find ourselves to both be joining Bobby, as the pair we were and partnership we had, to have that now exist in the Baseball Hall of Fame, I'm so thrilled by that. It's unique and it's really rewarding for me. I wouldn't be where I am today sitting up here if it weren't for that man, and a lot of other people in our organization.

So I'm very happy with that. And there may be others to come, because between John Hart and John Coppolella, they are signing a lot of really talented guys in our organization.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations again to John Schuerholz and Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig. They will both be inducted in Cooperstown on July 30, 2017.