Forget about relaxing in retirement. Bud Selig began his tenure as Commissioner Emeritus by pitching both ends of an Opening Day doubleheader and having the No. 1 retired in his honor in between.
After throwing the ceremonial first pitch at Miller Park to Brewers owner Mark Attanasio on Monday afternoon, Selig was scheduled to board a private jet bound for Phoenix for another first pitch as the D-backs opened Chase Field.
"I guess this is a first in baseball," Selig said. "People have said this is the first time in baseball history somebody has thrown the ball out in two cities, and I guess it's true."
In May, the Brewers will open the "Selig Experience" at Miller Park, a museum depicting Selig's tenure as owner, and on Monday the club retired uniform No. 1 in his honor. That number hung alongside Selig's name on the Miller Park roof beam as he delivered Monday's season-opening pitch.
"It was emotional," Selig said. "I actually have been warming up the last four days, and I'll tell you why. I know if I didn't and I bounced a ball or threw at someone -- I have one more appearance yet today, so I don't want to get too cocky -- but [Bob] Uecker would never let me forget it. Uecker left a message on my machine that he was coming out with a radar gun."
Selig's Milwaukee ties run deep. He was born and raised here, was heartbroken when the Braves left for Atlanta, and elated when he led a group of investors that secured the Seattle Pilots in bankruptcy court in 1970. Selig brought the team to Milwaukee and named it the Brewers.
After 22 years of running day-to-day operations of the franchise, and 22 years more as Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Selig stepped down in January and accepted the role of Commissioner Emeritus. He has been teaching courses at the University of Wisconsin and Marquette University, and is beginning to write a long-planned book about his life in baseball.
As the first season of the Rob Manfred era began, Selig cited the economic reformation of baseball and increased parity during his own tenure as Commissioner as a source of pride.
"There are 20-22 teams that you know have either a chance to win their division or be a playoff team,"Selig said. "That's what we set out to do.
"Changing the game is difficult. But the game is in the best shape it's ever been."