CHICAGO -- Royals manager Ned Yost has fond memories of Commissioner Bud Selig from his days with the Milwaukee Brewers. Selig was the club owner when Yost was a player and his family owned the club during part of his managerial tenure.
"When I was playing, Buddy was there every day and really treated us all great. We all loved Bud as an owner," Yost said. "He was real intense, smoked those little Tiparillo cigars or whatever. You'd see him pacing back and forth."
Selig was known as an especially baseball-savvy, knowledgeable owner.
"Wow, yeah," Yost said.
"Just the job he's done as Commissioner, the shape that this game's in now is phenomenal under his leadership. We haven't had any problems, so to speak, and what major problems we've had, he's addressed them and fixed them. It's just too bad that he's got to retire because I don't know that you'll ever get another Bud Selig."
Yost remembered Spring Training days in Arizona when he was managing the Brewers.
"We'd go over to Bud's house and he'd have a little party for 30, 25 people. And he'd always grab me and take me into the study and shut the door and we'd talk for an hour. He just wanted to know what's going on, what's happening. I admired him and respected him so much as a player." Yost said.
He took over as manager in 2003, the year after the Brewers lost 106 games.
"My whole focus was to get that turned around for Bud. And when we started doing it, started making progress, I think he was really pleased about it," Yost said.
He recalled an incident before a game in Milwaukee when Selig came to the dugout area.
"He came down in the tunnel and I heard 'Ned, Ned!' and I turned around and it was Bud -- 10 minutes before the game," Yost said. "And I walked up the tunnel to see him and I went to shake his hand and he put his arms around me, kissed me on the cheek, grabbed me and said, 'You are doing so good!' "
When Yost had the Brewers headed toward the playoffs in 2008, he was dismissed in a September surprise by the Brewers' new ownership.
"When I got fired, it was like two hours later and the phone rings. And I was like, 'Who's this? I ain't answering the phone.' So it rings again and same number and I answered it. 'This is the Commissioner's office. Can you hold for the Commissioner, please?' So, 'Yeah.' " Yost recalled.
"So Bud came on and he goes, 'How ya doin'?' And I said, 'I'm doing all right, Bud.' And he goes, 'You know, Ned, my dad told me one time this lesson: He said, 'Son, life's hard and life is not fair.' And that's the only thing I can say to you -- life's not fair sometimes. And I said, 'Well, thanks, Bud.' "
Yost smiled as he remembered Selig's compassionate nature.
"How many managers get fired and get a call from the Commissioner two hours later?" he said. "I loved Bud."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.