Hat tip to Tony Ferrante of The Confluence of the Three Rivers and The Steel Tradition on this one.
As Dejan Kovacevic just published in the Post-Gazette, “Kevin McClatchy will step down as the Pirates’ chief executive officer at the end of this season, the team will announce later today.”
Kevin McClatchy was the leader and plurality investor in a group that paid $95 million for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1996. McClatchy immediately assumed the posts of chief executive officer and managing general partner, which are the offices traditionally staffed directly by owners in Major League Baseball.
McClatchy is a member of Major League Baseball’s executive council and the labor and international committees. At some point, which is not entirely known because the Pirates are a private corporation, G. Ogden Nutting and his family became the plurality and then majority owners in the franchise. Bob Nutting, Ogden’s son, is now chairman of the board. The Nuttings, however, have consistently shied from the spotlight and allowed McClatchy to be the main or even sole voice of the ownership group.
Kevin McClatchy also serves as a director for The McClatchy Company, a publishing group owned by his family.
I have yet to read anywhere that McClatchy will be selling his minority stake in the club.
McClatchy published this open letter on Pirates.com:
Dear Pirates Fans:
Today I announced that I will be stepping down as the Chief Executive Officer of the Pittsburgh Pirates at the end of the 2007 season.
A decision of this personal and professional magnitude is not something you make overnight. It was something Bob Nutting and I have discussed even before the change of control took place in January, and something I decided upon a few months ago. It is a difficult decision, but I felt the time was right to step down as the day-to-day leader of this franchise so the organization can move forward with a fresh leadership perspective. …
The team’s press release is available here.
So, what does this mean?
It’s hard to imagine this move being a step in the wrong direction. The McClatchy-era Pirates have had little success, save 1997’s “Freak Show” team, and few would rate his stint with the organization as being productive. From day one we heard about the team’s commitment to winning, but so far it’s been too much talk and too few results.
Much will be said when the new chief executive officer is named. Bob Nutting has emphasized his desire to win, but it doesn’t seem as if he’s been interested in having much of an impact on the day-to-day operation of the ballclub. Perhaps, as McClatchy implied, that was done purposefully—Nutting may have asked for a season to get his feet wet, so to speak. Hopefully, though, he’ll choose to bring in more of a “baseball man” to call the shots.
It should be noted that the contracts of both Jim Tracy and David Littlefield expire after the 2008 season. Their future with the team should be made known sooner rather than later.