Looking Back: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Speaks at NWL All-Star Game
For baseball players aspiring to the major leagues, and those dedicated to developing their skills through summer collegiate play, having the sitting Major League Baseball Commissioner in the room to encourage them and share his thoughts on their journey can only be described as an opportunity of a lifetime. On July 21, 2014, Northwoods League All-Stars participating in the 20th NWL All-Star Game had just that opportunity.
At the time, there wasn’t a bigger name in baseball. Allan H. “Bud” Selig had already announced his pending retirement for later that year, so demand for his time was high. But the game was being hosted by the Lakeshore Chinooks, just outside Selig’s hometown of Milwaukee, with Brewer’s legends Jim Gartner and Robin Yount acting as the North and South Division captains. Chinooks officials said of their decision to bring in Commissioner Selig as the speaker, “There is nobody else in the Milwaukee area, state of Wisconsin, and MLB for that matter who has had a greater impact on the game of baseball.”
Commissioner Selig spoke directly to the players, coaches, umpires, and front office staff during his banquet speech. His message was simple and powerful: “Make the most of every opportunity and appreciate the fact that you get to play and/or work in the great sport of baseball. The Northwoods League and summer collegiate baseball is your first opportunity and step towards making it to Major League Baseball.”
- Among the Northwoods League All-Stars that game was Paul DeJong of the Wisconsin Woodchucks. He would go on to tie the Northwoods League single-season Home Run Record with 20 that season. After being drafted in the 4th Round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015, his rise through the minor leagues was swift. In his first MLB at-bat in May 2017, DeJong homered on his first swing. He went on to set the Cardinals’ homerun record for rookie shortstops with 25, and was 2nd in the National League Rookie of the Year voting behind Cody Bellinger.
- Bud Selig has been a familiar face to Lakeshore Fans in their first six seasons. In addition to his participation in the 2014 All-Star Game, he also threw out the first pitch at the Chinooks inaugural season home opener in 2013 and was at the ballpark for his own bobblehead day in August 2017. Chinooks GM Shawn Kison says that whenever Commissioner Selig makes an appearance at Kapco Park, he loves to sign autographs and interact with the fans.
Visit our 25th Season Celebration page to read about other memorable moments previously released.