Long-time owner Miles Wolff‘s sale of Burlington Baseball Inc. is prompting a flood of appreciation for his contributions to Minor League Baseball, both in Burlington and beyond.
It was announced on Sunday that Wolff had sold Burlington Baseball Inc. to Ryan Keur, who will remain president of the Daytona Tortugas (High A; Florida State League) while taking control of the entity that oversees the day-to-day operation of the Burlington Royals (Rookie; Appalachian League). (Like every other Appy League team, the B-Royals are owned by a parent team and operated locally.) Wolff’s has had a decades-long impact on Minor League Baseball in Burlington, as he had helped lead the effort to bring professional baseball back to the North Carolina city in the mid-1980s, resulting in the launch of the then Burlington Indians in 1986. (Wolff was interviewed at length for Cradle of the Game, Mark Cryan’s book on North Carolina ballparks past and present.)
Beyond Burlington, Wolff has been a significant figure in professional baseball, perhaps most notably through his successful ownership of the Durham Bulls in the 1980s–the decade in which Bull Durham was filmed and released–his role in launching the independent Northern League, time spent as commissioner of the independent American Association, and other accomplishments in the industry. Wolff is not departing the Royals completely–Keur, a former GM of the team, has said Wolff will serve as a consultant–but his decision to move on from his leadership post at Burlington Baseball Inc. is prompting plenty of recognition for his contributions to professional baseball. More from the Times-News:
“You could argue that without the Durham Bulls and what he was doing prior to the movie (“Bull Durham”) that the crowds they were drawing at the old ball park and the interest that was there, in many ways he kind of jumpstarted minor league baseball,” Appalachian League president Dan Moushon said.
Moushon, who worked under Wolff as Burlington’s vice president for years before moving to the league office, said the historical perspective that Wolff possesses might be unmatched across the minor leagues.
“He’s one of the icons of the industry, no question,” Moushon said. “From an industry standpoint, it’s losing one of the icons.”
Given how stable Burlington has been over three-plus decades, it is certainly one of the bright spots in Wolff’s career, which includes plenty of accomplishments with a lasting impact on professional baseball.
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