Tom Werner, the second-largest stakeholder of the Red Sox, made the final cut to become the biggest power broker in baseball.
The 64-year-old Sox chairman is one of three finalists to replace Bud Selig, who is retiring as commissioner of Major League Baseball on Jan. 24, according to a baseball source yesterday familiar with the search selection committee’s recommendations.
USA Today first reported the news late yesterday afternoon.
If Werner were to be named commissioner, he would likely have to sell his ownership stake in the Red Sox. When Selig formally became commissioner in 1998 — he served in an interim role starting in 1992 after the resignation of Fay Vincent — he transferred his ownership of the Milwaukee Brewers to his daughter, Wendy. (The team was sold out of the family in 2005.)
The other two finalists are Rob Manfred, Selig’s No. 2 and the chief operating officer of MLB, and Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president of business.
Few expected to see Werner’s name among the finalists — Red Sox CEO and president Larry Lucchino has been talked about more often — but he is a familiar face, as well as an owner. That last fact could wind up helping his candidacy if the owners, just as they did with Selig, are inclined to trust one of their own kind to best represent their interests.
Werner, a New York City native and Harvard graduate, is a successful TV producer who (along with a partner) was behind mega-hits Mork & Mindy, The Cosby Show and That 70’s Show among others. He entered the baseball world in 1990, when he owned the largest partner share in a group that purchased the San Diego Padres.