Allan "Bud" Selig, center, is presented the James V. Day "Good Guy" Award from Mark Avis, left, and Richard Pedro. Photo by James V. Carroll

A truly 'good guy'

Praised for his devotion to America's pastime, as well as his concern for America's youth and child-prevention efforts, Major League Baseball Commission Allan "Bud" Selig was presented The American Legion's James V. Day "Good Guy" Award during the organization's 92nd Annual National Convention in Milwaukee on Monday. The award presentation came during the annual Past Department Commander's Club luncheon.

In addition to his many well-received and profitable revisions to Major League Baseball, Selig is active in Milwaukee in many humanitarian causes and community projects.

"I've often said that baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities, and I hope that the last 18 years as commissioner and the 25 years before that as the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, that that's always been exhibited," Selig said. "The values of America and the values of baseball are really intertwined. You could fill a 25-man roster with the values that bind our nation with the national pastime. It's the thing I'm proudest of, frankly, in being in baseball."

Selig praised The American Legion for its commitment to youth through American Legion Baseball. In place since 1925, the program is the Legion's largest youth program and has produced more than 50 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees. Selig himself has a connection to Legion Baseball: 60 years ago, Selig's father was involved with a Legion team that included Harvey Keen, a former MLB standout player and manager.

"I'm not only grateful for this honor; I'm grateful for what The American Legion does for baseball," Selig said. "You have made it possible for hundreds of thousands of players and nearly 5,000 teams to learn these American values through our national pastime. Since the program began 85 years ago, more than 10 million have participated. That's an amazing number - 10 million children.

"No organization embodies patriotism more than The American Legion. No organization loves America more than The American Legion, and I am very deeply touched to receive this recognition. You're the people who have put yourselves above your own selfish interests to do great and wonderful work - work that sustains our society."

The James V. Day Good Guy Award is named after a World War II veteran and prominent Legionnaire. Recent recipients include performer Dolly Parton, former MLB player Rick Monday and former NBA star and U.S. Naval Academy graduate David Robinson.