Heads Major League Executive Council
In September 1992, when Fay Vincent resigned under pressure as baseball commissioner, Selig's fellow club owners named him chairman of the Major League Executive Council. Since the Major League Agreement gives the Executive Council the right to regulate baseball in the absence of a commissioner, Selig became the defacto commissioner. In his new post, he pressed for some sort of revenue-sharing arrangement under which the larger, more profitable teams, such as the New York Yankees, would help to subsidize smaller franchises, such as Selig's own Milwaukee Brewers. Selig also called for a cap on player salaries and an end to arbitration to settle salary disputes. His support of these issues endeared him to many of his fellow owners but won him no friends among the players.
Less than two years after taking over as acting commissioner, Selig faced his first big challenge in the form of a players strike in 1994. After the players struck on August 12, Selig worked hard to promote owner unity. As the strike dragged on into early September with no end in sight, Selig cancelled the rest of the season, including the World Series. Not until the beginning of the 1995 season was the strike ended, and then only by a court injunction ordering baseball to go back to its previous collective bargaining agreement while negotiations continued. A new contract was eventually hammered out, but the bitterness between owners and players lingered long after the settlement. And for Selig, the 1994 strike signaled an end to the two-year honeymoon he'd enjoyed with the media, which now turned on him with a vengeance. Pete Pascarelli of Sporting News wrote that Selig was "willing to crush the game into an unrecognizable mess," adding that baseball was "on the brink of utter ruin under his watch."