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Oakland Athletics' ownership group in transition

By
The Sports Xchange
Oakland Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt delivers the lineup card to the umpires in his catching gear before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 28, 2016. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Oakland Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt delivers the lineup card to the umpires in his catching gear before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 28, 2016. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Oakland Athletics managing general partner Lew Wolff stepped down Thursday and announced an agreement in principle to sell his interest in the team to the remaining owners.

Wolff will transition to chairman emeritus and John Fisher will become Oakland's new managing partner. The leadership transition was approved by owners during Thursday's Owners Meetings in Chicago.

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"I want to thank Lew for his leadership over the last 11 years," Fisher said. "His initiative and love of the game of baseball brought my family to the A's, and we would not be involved without him. Lew has given the organization all of his energy and experience for the last 11 years and I look forward to a new chapter in our working relationship and friendship. It is a privilege for me to steward the A's at this important moment for the franchise."

Fisher is the son of Gap Inc founders Donald and Doris Fisher and invested in San Francisco hotels with Wolff before joining the Athletics. He also holds stakes in the San Jose Earthquakes and Scotland's Glasgow Celtic football club.

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Wolff led the $180 million purchase of the Athletics from Stephen Schott and Ken Hofmann on April 1, 2005. He has spent most of his time pursuing a new stadium for the A's but unsuccessfully was able to relocate the team to proposed new ballparks in Fremont and San Jose.

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"It has been an honor serving as managing partner and I thank our fans, staff, and players for the opportunity I've had to lead this great organization," Wolff said. "John and I have talked in great length about the future of this club and I am ready to pass the reins to him."

In recent years, Wolff has stated he wants to keep the team in Oakland and in 2014, the A's signed a 10-year league to stay in the O.co Coliseum, which it shares with the Oakland Raiders.

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Under Wolff's tenure as managing general partner, Oakland has made the playoffs four times. The A's won AL West titles in 2006, 2012 and 2013 and lost to Kansas City in the 2014 wild-card game.

Since its last playoff appearance, Oakland has lost 94 and 93 games respectively.

Additionally team President Michael Crowley is stepping away from day-to-day operations to advise the ownership group. San Jose Earthquakes President Dave Kaval will fill Crowley's role while remaining with the Earthquakes.

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