|10th Commissioner of Baseball|
|Assumed office |
January 25, 2015
|Preceded by||Bud Selig|
|Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball|
September 28, 2013 – January 25, 2015
|Preceded by||Bob DuPuy|
|Succeeded by||Tony Petitti|
|Born||September 28, 1958|
Rome, New York, U.S.
|Education||Le Moyne College|
Cornell University (BS)
Harvard University (JD)
Robert D. Manfred Jr. (born September 28, 1958) is an American lawyer and business executive who is the tenth and current Commissioner of Major League Baseball. He previously served as the Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball (MLB) and succeeded Bud Selig as Commissioner on January 25, 2015.
Manfred was born on September 28, 1958, in Rome, New York. He attended Rome Free Academy and graduated in 1976. Manfred enrolled at Le Moyne College from 1976 through 1978 before transferring to Cornell University. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1980 and his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1983, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
After law school, Manfred clerked for Judge Joseph L. Tauro of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts from 1983 to 1984. He then joined the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he worked in on labor and employment law.
In 1987, Manfred began working with Major League Baseball (MLB) during collective bargaining. During the 1994–95 MLB strike, he served as outside counsel for the owners. He joined MLB on a full-time basis in 1998, serving as the Executive Vice President of Economics and League Affairs. Manfred negotiated MLB's first drug testing agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) in 2002, and represented MLB in negotiations with the MLBPA when forming new collective bargaining agreements in 2002, 2006 and 2011. In 2013, Manfred led MLB's investigation of the Biogenesis scandal.
At the end of the 2013 season, Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig promoted Manfred to chief operating officer of MLB. The position had been vacant since Bob DuPuy resigned in 2010. Following the announcement of Selig's retirement, effective after the 2014 season, Manfred became a finalist to succeed him as Commissioner.
On August 14, 2014, MLB owners elected Manfred to succeed Selig, beating Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and MLB executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan. Manfred assumed office on January 25, 2015. He stated that his primary goals as commissioner were youth outreach, embracing technology, quickening the pace of play, strengthening player relations, and creating a more unified business operation.
As commissioner, Manfred instituted rules before the start of the 2015 season to address the pace of play, including having batters remain in the batter's box and the installation of time clocks to limit the time spent around commercial breaks. Before the 2018 season, Manfred introduced more rule changes to affect the pace of play, including reducing the time in commercial breaks and limiting player visits to the pitcher's mound. He has also advocated for expansion franchises, listing Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Nashville, Montreal, and Vancouver as possible locations for new teams.
On November 15, 2018, the owners extended Manfred's contract through the 2024 season.
Main article: Houston Astros sign stealing scandal
In 2020, Manfred led an investigation that found that the Houston Astros had used illegal methods to steal signs during the 2017 season, in which they won the World Series, as well as part of the 2018 season. Manfred fined the team $5 million, the maximum allowed by the MLB constitution, and revoked their first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Astros manager A. J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were each suspended for the entire 2020 season, including the playoffs. No Astros players were punished because they received immunity in exchange for their cooperation in the investigation.
Manfred was widely criticized for his handling of the situation. In an interview with ESPN, he defended his decision not to discipline players involved with the scandal, arguing that the Major League Baseball Players Association would not accept it. He also refused to strip the Astros of their 2017 World Series title because "It has never happened in baseball" and that he believed "that precedent happens and when you deviate from that, you have to have a very good reason."
On March 12, 2020, one day after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization, Major League Baseball cancelled spring training and delayed the start of the 2020 season by at least two weeks. Four days later, it was announced that the start of the season would be pushed back indefinitely due to the recommendation made by the CDC to restrict events of more than 50 people for eight weeks. On May 26, Manfred made the league's first proposal for the 2020 season, which included a reduction of the richest salaries by over 75 percent. This proposal was immediately rejected by the Players Association. The MLBPA later voted 33–5 to reject a proposal from Manfred and the owners for a 60-game season that would include an expanded postseason format and no provisions for salary guarantees in the event of a cancelled season, then rejected a third proposal for a 72-game season with 80% pro-rated pay. Manfred and the owners had also rejected the players' proposal for a 70-game season. On June 22, Manfred imposed a 60-game regular season that was unanimously approved by franchise owners. The season imposed by Manfred included the implementation of a sixteen-team postseason format, a universal designated hitter and extra innings beginning with a runner on second base.
On April 2, 2021, Manfred announced that the 2021 All-Star Game would be moved from Atlanta in protest of a voting reform law passed by Georgia's legislature. The move was supported by President Joe Biden and the MLBPA, the latter of whom claimed that the law "disproportionately disenfranchises the Black community." The decision was opposed both by Republican state officials including governor Brian Kemp and by several prominent Georgia Democrats including activist and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and senator Raphael Warnock. The Atlanta Braves also opposed the move remarking that they were "deeply disappointed" by Manfred's decision and "businesses, employees and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision." On April 5, Manfred announced that Coors Field in Denver, Colorado would host the All-Star Game.
Growing up in Upstate New York, Manfred was a fan of the New York Yankees. His father led the Rome, New York, division of Revere Copper and Brass, while his mother was a schoolteacher. He has an older sister and a younger brother.
Manfred and his wife, Colleen, have four children; Megan, Michael, Jane and Mary Clare. Megan married Timothy Petrella of Minnetonka, Minnesota, son of the president of UnitedHealthcare Community and State, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Sleepy Hollow, New York. and Michael married Ashley Allen at Catholic Church of the Transfiguration in Tarrytown, New York.
Manfred serves as a Board member at Catholic School of Holy Child in Rye, New York.