ST. LOUIS -- Bud Selig, the new interim commissioner of baseball, said yesterday the first 24 hours of his new job went well but he will not become the game's ninth commissioner on a permanent basis.
"I will not accept the commissioner's job under any circumstances," he insisted during a crowded press conference that ended a historic two-day meeting of the 28 club owners and their representatives.
Selig, the 58-year-old president of the Milwaukee Brewers, was named interim commissioner Wednesday, closing the breach caused by the departure of Fay Vincent, who 48 hours earlier resigned. The owners or their representatives, by an 18-9-1 majority vote, forced Vincent's resignation.
Selig is expected to remain as the boss, probably for three months, possibly longer, until a search committee finds a successor to Vincent. Selig, an owner for 22 years, twice headed such search committees.
Selig's appointment as commissioner pro tem seems to have had a soothing effect on baseball's ownership wing, previously torn asunder by the Vincent dispute.
"Bud Selig not only was a good choice," Minnesota mogul Carl Pohlad said, "he's the only guy who can bring everyone together."
Selig presided at yesterday's three-hour joint meeting, which he insisted was "extremely productive." If so, he didn't offer any specifics other than to reveal the appointment of a 13-man restructuring committee which, among other things, will tackle revenue-sharing and also rewrite the portion of the Major League Agreement that defines the commissioner's powers.
ZTC The commissioner's authority is certain to be diminished. That Selig is in agreement was apparent when he said "we currently have a contract that's 71 years old and ought to be re-examined."
Six of the nine teams represented on the restructuring committee were pro-Vincent, an indication Selig, who was anti-Vincent, is trying to heal all wounds. Selig also sat next to Steve Greenberg, Vincent's deputy commissioner, during the press conference. Despite his unswerving devotion to Vincent, Greenberg may keep his post in the new administration.
This is not the first time baseball has assembled a restructuring committee. The last such squad was assembled in the late '70s and was disbanded two or three years later without noticeable accomplishment.
This time it will be different many of the moguls insisted, as they departed for their various fiefdoms.
Once again, there was no action on the proposed sale and move of the San Francisco Giants to St. Petersburg, Fla.
Also, there was no discussion on the Chicago Cubs' suit against Vincent's proposed National League realignment. The litigation will continue, according to Cubs chairman Stanton Cook, who is among Selig's "best friends."
"I'm sure things will work out,"Cook observed.
"I agree," Selig said. "Mr. Cook is an honorable man."
Selig said a special committee would be formed to examine the realignment issue. "The subject will be addressed," he promised.
As the owner of a small-market franchise, Selig was asked if he would continue to push for revenue-sharing in his new position.
Hedging, baseball's interim czar said, "All the suggested solutions to the enormous problem of revenue-sharing will continue to be discussed."
Eddie Einhorn of the Chicago White Sox, Bill Giles of the Philadelphia Phillies and Tom Werner, the San Diego owner, were named to a television committee and are expected to extract as many dollars as possible in the next network contract, which will be in effect before the 1994 season.