A family matter: Selig celebrates HOF honor

Commissioner Emeritus' wife, daughter, granddaughters support him at Meetings

A family matter: Selig celebrates HOF honor

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The most overwhelming day in Bud Selig's professional life began as just another Sunday. He navigated Milwaukee's first snowfall of the season to fulfill his longtime lunch routine -- a hot dog and Diet Coke from Gilles Frozen Custard -- before returning to Bayside, Wis., to watch the Green Bay Packers' game in his home office.

At 4:20 p.m. CT (Selig's wife Sue noted the time), the telephone rang. It was Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, informing Selig he'd been elected to Cooperstown.

"I ran in there, and you could just see the nervousness pass for him," Sue said.

Selig, the former Brewers owner and Major League Baseball Commissioner, will be enshrined in a ceremony on July 30, 2017. It comes on his 83rd birthday.

"This was not just another day, I'll tell you," Sue said of the buildup to Sunday's announcement. "He was uptight about this whole thing. He is very superstitious, so for weeks now, I was told not to talk about this."

Selig discusses his career

Selig's daughter, former Brewers president Wendy Selig-Prieb, held out as long as she could. She was home in New York and thought the announcement would come in the late morning or early afternoon, so she carried her phone in her hand all day.

Shortly after kickoff of that Packers game, Selig-Prieb couldn't take it anymore. She phoned her father to check in.

Hours later, after Forbes-Clark delivered the news, father and daughter connected again.

"I think there was a great sense of relief and excitement; I don't know what the combination of those two things is," Selig-Prieb said. "Like he said today, 'What do you say? How do you put it into words?'"

Reaction to HOF elections

When Selig did try to put it into words on Monday, he conjured memories of his Milwaukee roots.

"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," Selig said. "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."

Selig's wife, daughters and granddaughters were by his side on Monday as he was announced as a Hall of Famer for the first time during the Winter Meetings. The women in Selig's life have played a significant role in his career, beginning with his mother Marie, who introduced Selig to baseball in the first place.

After Selig brought Major League Baseball back to Milwaukee County Stadium in 1970, his mother was a regular at Brewers games. She would sit in the owner's box, Sue recalled on Monday, scorecard in hand.

"There's no question that she is responsible for his love of baseball," Sue said.

Selig a part of the 2017 class

That love was passed on to Selig-Prieb, who took over day-to-day operations of the ballclub after Selig became acting Commissioner in 1992. The family retained ownership of the team until handing the reins to Mark Attanasio in 2005.

"I think about lessons learned," Selig-Prieb said. "I mean, I'm very lucky. Yes, as a father, but [also] as a mentor and a business leader. … You learn by watching and observing. I would sit around his office after work and see him taking calls for hours upon hours upon hours. It's a unique perspective."

Added Sue: "There is something very special about this, there's no question. This is what you sort of strive for. It's the ultimate."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 200 1. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.