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Westchester's Manfred Snags Top Cornell Alumni Award

Rob Manfred of Tarrytown, commissioner of Major League Baseball, will receive the Groat Award in Manhattan on Thursday. It's one of Cornell University ILR School's top alumni honors for outstanding professional achievement and service to ILR.
Rob Manfred of Tarrytown, commissioner of Major League Baseball, will receive the Groat Award in Manhattan on Thursday. It's one of Cornell University ILR School's top alumni honors for outstanding professional achievement and service to ILR. Photo Credit: Provided/Cornell ILR School

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. of Tarrytown, a 1980 graduate of Cornell University, will receive one of the ILR School's top alumni awards on Thursday.

Manfred will receive the ILR School’s Judge William B. Groat Award in New York City, according to the Cornell Chronicle. The award honors outstanding professional achievement and service to ILR.

Manfred got his start in the foothills of the Adirondacks in a small city where copper-bottomed pots and pans were manufactured, according to the Chronicle.

“My interest in labor relations was really a direct result of the community I grew up in,” he said of Rome, N.Y.

Manfred’s father was an executive at Revere Copper and Brass, which had two collective bargaining units, and his mother was a unionized schoolteacher.

“I had both sides of the labor dynamic in my house,” Manfred said. When labor contracts were being negotiated, “I remember quite vividly how tough that can be on a small community. I was aware of the tension.”

Earlier Daily Voice coverage of Manfred before he took over for Bud Selig in 2015 -- including a videotaped interview with Manfred -- can be found online here.

Manfred has spent most of his career in Major League Baseball. He directed collective bargaining with players, became the chief operating officer and started as commissioner in 2015.

Many decisions he makes these days are high-profile. They include continuing to ban Pete Rose from baseball, drug testing, organizing the historic baseball game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays, overseeing player discipline, and handling the financials of an industry spawning billions in annual revenue.

At this week's Groat & Alpern Celebration in Manhattan, Manfred expects “to talk about the significance of work in people’s lives” and the challenge of finding a way to draw satisfaction from work.

How is that done? Manfred’s reply: “Saving that for April.”

Return to Daily Voice for updates on Manfred's speech.

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