By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jan 17, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Major League Baseball today extended Commissioner Bud Selig's contract through 2012.

Selig's current contract was set to expire in 2009. He received a three-year extension by a unanimous vote of the owners this morning during meetings in Phoenix.

By the time his contract expires, Selig will be 78 years old and will have served as commissioner for 20 years. That total includes a nearly six-year stint as interim commissioner that began on Sept. 9, 1992; he took the job on a full-time, permanent basis in July 1998. He is already the second-longest tenured commissioner in the game's history, trailing only Kennesaw Mountain Landis, who served from 1921 to 1944.

"My optimism about the future of Major League Baseball has never been greater," Selig said in a release. "Through the hard work of many, our great game has made many meaningful strides. We have achieved unprecedented labor peace, competitive balance, record attendance, business performance and exciting international growth. I am truly grateful for the incredible fan interest that the game has inspired. This is a golden age for our national pastime."

His original contract was extended in 2001 and Selig received another in 2004. At the time, he said he planed to planned to retire at the end of the contract and repeated that sentiment in December 2006. The most recent extension comes just days after Selig appeared before Congress to discuss the findings of the Mitchell Report.

"What will continue to be paramount to me is the protection of the integrity of the game," Selig said in the release. "Major League Baseball unconditionally embraces its enormous social responsibilities. The sport faces important challenges, and we will not rest until they have been met."