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Retired Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on steroid scandal

After more than two decades at the helm of Major League Baseball, Selig has retired as the game's commissioner
Retired MLB commissioner Bud Selig on steroid scandal 06:05

After more than two decades at the helm of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig has retired as the game's commissioner. In his first interview since stepping down, Selig looks back on a sport that has enjoyed economic expansion and endured great controversy, reports "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose.

Bud Selig's first day in retirement began with a return to his roots. Growing up in Milwaukee, he was a Yankee fan.

"When I was 10, 12, 14, 15 years old I really thought I was going to be the heir apparent to Joe DiMaggio. I would play center field," Selig said. "By the age of 14, a young man threw me a curveball, and that was it. I knew then that my career was over at a very, very early age."

Instead, Selig sought to become a league owner at 30 years old; ultimately bringing a bankrupt Seattle expansion team to Milwaukee after a six-year effort.

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"I'll never forget, we lost 12 to nothing in our first game. And as I was walking down, and we had a big crowd, and it was great, and a fan said to me 'You know, you wanted a team in the worst way, and that's what you got.' And I said 'Well, it'll get better,'" Selig said.

While his Brewers would improve, it was the state of Major League Baseball that most troubled Selig when he first led the league in 1992.

"We had a lot of unhappy teams who couldn't compete, so you had to do something to help baseball," Selig said.

Selig's proposal that high earning, big market franchises share revenue with smaller clubs passed unanimously.

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"Now all 30 clubs have been in the playoffs in the last ten or 12 years. And you know, the Kansas City Royals playing in the World Series and people ask me a lot about it," Selig said. "Of course it makes me happy because it is what we set out to do."

If there is one thing for which Bud Selig will be remembered, it is baseball's steroid scandal, which continued throughout his tenure.

He said it was the most testing time for him and he worried a great deal because it goes to the heart of the game.

"People said we were slow to react and I believe that is a historical myth," Selig said.

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As for those athletes who used steroids and toppled the record of people who didn't, Selig said people will have to make their own judgments.

"I've studied the game. Every decade, every generation has its unique features," Selig said.

One such controversial athlete, Alex Rodriguez, is six homeruns short of the great Willie Mays.

"We'll see what happens. He'll be playing for this team, or he may still be in spring training in another month or so," Selig said.

Selig's legacy is much more than the steroid scandal. He is remembered for establishing a revenue-sharing system, interleague play and introducing the wild card system.

One area where Selig did not leave a mark is game-play time. Some argue he could have made the game shorter.

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"We have a pace game committee, and we're working on that and Joe Torre and Sandy Alderson, have a great committee. But I want to say this to you," Selig said. "Why is our attendance increasing? Why are television ratings increasing? Why is revenue increasing? The more I talk to fans I don't get it as much as I sometimes get it in the media. Don't misunderstand me."

Despite the increasing numbers, Selig recognizes something needs to be done.

"We will look into this problem," he said. "But I want to say to you, 74, 75 million people attending baseball games was unheard of even a decade ago."

Among the recommendations -- ensuring batters keep at least one foot in the box throughout their time at bat.

Selig will still have an office at Major League Baseball and be paid $6 million a year.

"They created the commissioner emeritus, which baseball never had," Selig said. "And I'm looking forward to that."

On Saturday, baseball writers honored Selig for his 23 years of leadership at Major League Baseball. He, in turn, thanked family, fans and friends of the game for the career of a lifetime.

"I said this journey in my career, and I'm lucky, is one of those rare instances where a little boy's dream came true," Selig said.

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