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Commissioner: Ilitch was 'best of baseball'

At the same time, Manfred said that the Tigers are in "really good hands" with Ilitch's son, Chris, taking charge of the club.

"Chris has become increasingly involved in Major League Baseball activities, attending Owners Meetings, starting about the time that I became Commissioner," he said. "He has been a positive force. Obviously he has a great sports background because of the hockey side, where he has been more involved, and I think the Tigers are in really good hands going forward."

Mike and Marian Ilitch designated Chris as the successor in the family ownership of the Tigers and the NHL's Red Wings last year while stating that the teams would remain in the family.