All 30 Major League Baseball owners agreed that 55 year old Rob Manfred, a 1976 graduate of Rome Free Academy, was the best choice for the top job in baseball. Shortly after the vote, Manfred acknowledged he has big shoes to fill.
"I'm tremendously honored by the confidence the owners showed in me, electing me to be the 10th commissioner in baseball," said Manfred.
In Rome, Manfred's friends and classmates were overwhelmed and proud of his accomplishment. Rome mayor Joe Fusco graduated with Manfred. Fusco says his years of hard work and commitment to baseball paid off.
"We were just so excited when we got the news last night because if there is anybody that's deserving of such an honor, it's Rob. He's just a great down to earth guy," said Fusco.
In the 1970's Manfred was known for another sport - tennis. Manfred was the RFA team MVP his senior year. Classmate Joe Mazzaferro says it's still overwhelming for him to think that the star tennis player he knew almost 40 years ago will lead baseball into a new era.
"He was a very friendly person, very warm person - very studious," said Mazzaferro.
Manfred attended Le Moyne college in Syracuse for two years and graduated from Cornell. He has worked with baseball since 1987 - but Joe Fusco says he always found time to come back to his hometown.
"He was in town last week, on his way to Cooperstown. He stopped and visited with some friends. They went to DeMatteo's for some of the famous DeMatteo's burgers," said Fusco.
Fusco says heâ??s hoping to have an event honoring Manfred sometime soon, but acknowledges that scheduling could be difficult, because the new commissioner is expected to be very busy over the next few months.