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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Retiring Commissioner Bud Selig will have a number retired in his honor by the Brewers, the team brought to Milwaukee 44 years ago.
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio made the announcement on Friday, saying the retirement of jersey No. 1 would be the first in a series of honors for Selig. A Milwaukee native, Selig bought the Seattle Pilots out of bankruptcy in 1970 and moved them to Milwaukee.
"This means a great deal to me," Selig said.
Selig said of his accomplishments in baseball he was most proud of bringing the Brewers to Milwaukee.
"People don't understand how almost really unbelievable it was," he said before Milwaukee hosted the Chicago Cubs Friday night. "We were passed over in National League expansion, in American League expansion.
"We thought we had the White Sox bought," he said. "In Seattle, (then commissioner) Bowie Kuhn tried to keep them there. I would have tried to do the same thing."
The Pilots ended up in bankruptcy court. Selig bought the franchise and moved it to Milwaukee eight days before the 1970 season began with a game against the California Angels at County Stadium.
"We lost to Andy Messersmith, 12-0," he said. "I was walking down feeling pretty good and beginning to understand that this was going to change. A man stopped me and said, 'You wanted a team in the worst way and that's what you got.' I knew then that the honeymoon was not going to last very long."
The 1970 team finished 65-97 and the Brewers didn't have a winning season until 1978. The team has appeared in just one World Series, losing in a seven-game series to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982, when the Brewers still were in the American League.
Selig ran the team until 1992, when he became baseball's acting commissioner. Attanasio bought the franchise from Selig's family in 2004.
The team dedicated a statue in Selig's honor outside Miller Park in 2010.
"It didn't seem to be enough, frankly," Attanasio said.
Logan Schafer, who spent much of the season in the minor leagues, currently wears No. 1 for the Brewers. The team said it would hold a ceremony next year to officially retire the number for Selig.
Selig, whose office is in Milwaukee, has visited 21 stadiums during his farewell tour. His final stop will be Saturday at Fenway Park in Boston.
"This one is particularly sensitive and particularly emotional," Selig said of visiting Miller Park.
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