By Larry Fine
BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Long-time official Rob Manfred was elected the next commissioner of Major League Baseball in a vote by team owners on Thursday.
Manfred, MLB's chief operating officer and its chief labor negotiator for 15 years before that, will succeed 80-year-old Bud Selig, who is retiring in January after 22 years as commissioner.
Manfred, 55, came to the owners' quarterly meetings as favorite to take over for Selig, but fell one vote short of the 23 he needed from the 30 clubs to win on the first ballot, according to sources with knowledge of the vote.
The choice was down to Manfred or Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner after the third candidate recommended by a search committee, MLB's vice president for business Tim Brosnan, withdrew from the election before the voting began.
After more than four hours of wrangling, Manfred was elected.
"I think the owners elected a very confident, strong leader and I think he's going to make a real difference in the future and can build on the accomplishments of the previous administration," Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos told a small group of reporters.
Said Werner: "I think Rob will make a great commissioner and I'm going to support him."
(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Gene Cherry)