Rob Manfred, a high-ranking executive in Major League Baseball for many years, was chosen Thursday by the league's owners to succeed Bud Selig as commissioner, one of the most powerful positions in sports.
Mr. Manfred was confirmed after several ballots by baseball's 30 owners, who convened in a closed-door ballroom in downtown Baltimore. In the initial ballot he received 22 votes, one short of what he needed. Hours later, he got the 23rd vote.
Mr. Selig has run the sport with a firm grip for more than 20 years but has had a halting exit, saying several times that he was considering retirement. His latest plan is to step down in January, at age 80. The league's owners, in a vote in Baltimore on Thursday, decided to go with Mr. Manfred as the sport's 10th commissioner.
Tom Werner, an owner of the Boston Red Sox, and Tim Brosnan, baseball's executive vice president for business, were the other finalists for the position. Mr. Brosnan withdrew from the race shortly before voting began Thursday.
Under Mr. Selig's watch, Major League Baseball has grown into a flourishing business that brings in $8 billion in annual revenue. The league and its players union have also enjoyed an unusually long period of labor peace in recent years.
Mr. Manfred was set up to be Selig's handpicked successor, the faithful deputy who had played important behind-the-scenes roles since he began working for baseball on a full-time basis full time in 1998. For 15 of those years, he was an executive vice president, in charge of both labor relations that were devoid of any work stoppages and the sport's increasing efforts to crack down on the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
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Mr. Selig promoted Manfred last September to chief operating officer, but the role of putative next commissioner was one he had idled in since 2010, when the other potential heir to Selig's throne, Bob DuPuy, was pushed out in a power shift. That left Manfred in perfect form to follow the path the N.B.A. was taking. The longtime commissioner David Stern groomed his longtime deputy, Adam Silver, to take over upon his retirement, which came in 2013 took effect this year after he spent 30 years in charge, and the N.B.A. owners bought into the plan.
—By Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times