Selig family has run team since 1970

Updated: January 19, 2004, 12:41 PM ET news services

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers will start the process of selling the team, which has been controlled by Bud Selig and his family since it moved to Milwaukee in 1970.

The Brewers have retained Allen & Company of New York to handle the deal.

Selig ran the Brewers until 1998, when he was voted baseball commissioner after six years of holding the job on an interim basis. Since then, his shares have been in a trust that put the team in control of his daughter, Wendy Selig-Prieb.

The team cannot be moved because the Brewers have a 30-year lease to play at Miller Park that Selig-Prieb called "iron clad."

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that legislators say they will continue to push for state review of the franchise's finances. A report is expected to be issued sometime in March.

The Brewers went 68-94 last year, finishing last with their 11th straight losing record. While the team won 12 more games than the previous season, the Brewers drew criticism when then-president Ulice Payne went public with his opposition to a plan to cut Milwaukee's payroll by 25 percent this season. The team negotiated a multimillion dollar buyout with Payne, ending his one-year stint as president.

In December, the Brewers traded their most popular player, All-Star slugger Richie Sexson, to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a nine-player deal.

The Brewers pledged higher payrolls and better teams when lawmakers agreed in 1995 to pay for the team's new retractable roof stadium through a sales tax increase in the Milwaukee area.

Miller Park was a financial windfall in its inaugural season in 2001, when the team drew a club record 2.8 million fans despite losing 94 games. The Brewers were baseball's most profitable team after revenue sharing, netting $16.1 million.

"Now it is time for me to formally sever my ties to the Milwaukee Brewers," Selig said. "It is the correct decision for myself, my family, and, while I have played no role in the administration of the Brewers, putting my ownership share in trust in 1998, I am convinced and have been for many years that it is in the best interests of the game. As commissioner, it is inappropriate for me to root for any one club, but I must admit, and I hope people will understand, that I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Milwaukee Brewers."

Selig-Prieb said there was no timeline for the sale, and the board had not yet discussed a price.

If the Selig family sells, the New York Yankees' George Steinbrenner would become the major leagues' senior owner, having bought the team in 1973.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.