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Did the Brewers follow the “Selig Rule” in hiring Craig Counsell?

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When Craig Counsell was introduced as the Brewers’ new manager today, GM Doug Melvin said that the decision to fire Ron Roenicke and hire Counsell -- who already worked for the Brewers -- “came together quickly.” So quickly, it seems, that it’s worth asking whether the team which owes its existence to Bud Selig followed the rule which bears his name.

The so-called “Selig Rule” was written in a memo and delivered to all 30 teams on April 14, 1999. As Richard Justice described in his column at a couple of years ago, it requires that every club consider - not necessarily interview, but at least consider -- minority candidates “for all general manager, assistant general manager, field manager, director of player development and director of scouting positions.” Justice notes that, in addition to that consideration, Selig asked in his memo for clubs to provide him a list of their openings and to include a list of candidates, including minority candidates, to be interviewed. Baseball takes The Selig Rule very seriously, and has admonished teams in the past for not abiding by it.

There is some flexibility here, as baseball will allow itself to be convinced that the hiring process a team used did not unfairly deny an opportunity for a minority candidate to compete for the job, but there is supposed to be a dialogue in that process between the team and the league office. Some more background on all of that here.

I suspect that “we have had this guy waiting in the wings for a long time and totally want him to be our next manager” is a grounds that the league will accept in such situations, and it’s quite possible that Counsell has been that guy for the Brewers for some time. It’d be interesting to know if the club talked to the league about all of this first, however.