06/19/2002 7:05 pm ET
Walk of Fame Class of 2002
Selig, Cooper join Brewers legends
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Former Brewers owner Bug Selig said being inducted into Milwaukee's "Walk of Fame" outside Miller Park alongside Brewers great Cecil Cooper brought back a lot of good memories.
Later, he fielded questions about current issues he faces as Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Regarding whether players should be tested for steroids and over-the-counter bodybuilding drugs, Selig appeared hopeful that the question would be settled between owners and the players' association at the negotiating table.
The issue was the topic of a Congressional hearing Tuesday, but was not discussed at a collective bargaining session Wednesday in New York. MLB President and Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy said the issue was tabled until a similar session that is scheduled for Thursday.
"It's something that we've been talking about for a long time," Selig said before the Brewers' 8-1 win over the Astros. "Talking about the health and welfare of a group of people, which is very important. It's very important to me, and that's what we should be talking about. But we'll do that at the table."
Tyler Houston, a Brewers union representative, suggested there could be common ground on that point and echoed union chief Don Fehr's position that the Senate subcommittee hearing was not the place for policy implementation.
"I think Congress has their own problems to worry about," Houston said. "They need to worry about finding Al-Queda members, not testing for steroids in baseball."
Cooper said he had to be careful on the issue because he is "in the middle of the road." The former 17-year player and five-time All-Star served as a player agent, then as an executive in the Brewers front office before returning to coaching. He is currently the Brewers bench coach.
"I think there has to be some kind of testing involved," Cooper said. "The numbers are getting out of hand. ... There has to be some kind of standardized testing."
While bargaining sessions continued Wednesday and Thursday in New York, Selig observed that progress on key issues remains possible.
"This is a social institution where change is painful," Selig said. "I know a couple of years ago, with [realigning to] three divisions [and adding the Wild Card] and all that. Now, people love it. They accept it as the fact."
Before he talked business, Selig had the pleasure of reminiscing about the Brewers in a ceremony outside Miller Park.
A handful of fans watched Selig and Cooper unveil their home plate-shaped Walk of Fame monuments, which will be laid into the plaza between Miller Park and an adjacent Little League facility.
The home plates were matted in red brick with the names, numbers, years of service and signature of the inductees. A 12-member committee of media and Brewers front office personnel voted for five individuals using a point system, and the top two were selected.
Selig and Cooper joined the Hall of Fame-caliber inaugural class inducted last summer of Henry Aaron, Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount.
"The '60s were great years for me," Selig remembered. "I was just a kid trying to bring a team to Milwaukee against odds that were insurmountable, except nobody told me they were insurmountable."
Selig led a group that in 1970 brought the Brewers to Milwaukee from Seattle, where they played one season as the Pilots. He served as club president until stepping aside to run Major League Baseball in 1998.
"No matter what happens in my lifetime, the greatest thrill and satisfaction I'll ever get is bringing the Brewers to Milwaukee because of all the odds against it," Selig said.
Cooper batted .302 in 11 seasons for Milwaukee and hit .300 or better in seven straight seasons in his career. He belted a career-best 32 home runs in 1982, and drove in the winning run in the 1982 American League Championship Series.
Brewers President and CEO Wendy Selig-Prieb said Cooper always represented Milwaukee with "class, grace and greatness." Commissioner Selig called Cooper one of the best hitters in baseball from 1978-1984.
Now, Cooper is focused on bringing the Brewers back to prominence. He was named to the team's coaching staff after Davey Lopes was relieved of his managerial duties in April.
"I honestly do believe that we're going to turn it around here," said Cooper, whose older brother, Sylverster, traveled form Houston for Wednesday's ceremony. "We're going to get back to those fun times."
Selig was the leading vote-getter in Brewers Walk of Fame voting with 110 points, followed by Cooper's 73. The runners-up included broadcaster Bob Uecker (46 points), former second baseman Jim Gantner (34 points) and former manager Harvey Kuenn (23 points).
Adam McCalvy covers the Brewers for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.