CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -Baseball commissioner Bud Selig is sorry the sport didn't act sooner to fix its problems - with the reserve clause.
Selig remained mum Friday about steroids and whether he would attend games when Barry Bonds has a chance to break Hank Aaron's home run record. But the commissioner did offer an apology of sorts for the baseball rule that kept players bound to their original teams in perpetuity.
The clause prevented players from changing teams or reaping the benefits of the free market until Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith won an arbitration case overturning it in 1975.
``That should have been modified decades before someone like me came into the sport,'' Selig, who became the Milwaukee Brewers' owner in 1970, said after receiving an award from the Sports Lawyers Association. ``Change was long overdue, and some balance to the relationship was necessary.''
Talking to a crowd of sports lawyers that also included several prominent agents and union and team executives, the former car dealer joked he has been ``practicing law without a license for many years.''
After rattling off some of the sport's financial highlights, Selig said the sport is better off now than it was in the 1940s and '50s - generally considered the golden age of baseball. And he said the recent labor peace, which would stretch to 16 years by the end of the current agreement, is a big reason why.
``So much of our success has been made possible because of our improved relationship with the players,'' he said.
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino called Selig ``the Harry Truman of baseball commissioners'' and said changes such as interleague play and the wild card make Selig the most accomplished of the sport's leaders.
``It has been an extraordinary run - utterly remarkable and positively historic,'' Lucchino said.
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