Despite record, McClatchy to continue running Pirates

Updated: October 4, 2006, 5:56 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Kevin McClatchy will remain as the Pittsburgh Pirates' chief executive officer and managing general partner, even though the franchise hasn't had a winning season since he took control in 1996.

McClatchy, whose family owns one of the nation's largest newspaper chains, formed the group that bought the Pirates for approximately $95 million in 1996. Since then, another newspaper chain owner, G. Ogden Nutting of Wheeling, W.Va., has acquired the majority stake in the franchise.

There was speculation when the Pirates were 30-60 at the All-Star break that McClatchy might be asked to step down at the end of the season. McClatchy declined repeatedly during the second half of the season to speak about his future.

The Pirates played above .500 after the break, going 37-35, but even that improvement enabled them only to match the record of 67-95 they had in 2005.

"The board and the partnership group are completely supportive of Kevin and his executive team," said board of directors chairman Bob Nutting, the son of G. Ogden Nutting. "We've made great strides on the business side of our organization and we're extremely encouraged by the team's performance during the second half of the season."

McClatchy said in a statement issued by the team that he is as frustrated as the fans are with all the losses. The Pirates last had a winning record in 1992, also the last time they reached the postseason.

Despite playing in a ballpark that was funded largely by tax dollars, the privately held Pirates do not reveal how much profit they make. Revenue-sharing money paid by larger market clubs and other income, such as advertising, is believed to have been enough to cover the team's approximately $47 million payroll this season even before ticket revenue was added.

McClatchy's focus will continue to be improving the on-field performance. The Pirates have had 89 losses or more eight times in 11 seasons since McClatchy's group bought them.

"I am committed to leading this organization to success in all aspects of our business," McClatchy said. "There is no question our on-field record has been extremely frustrating and disappointing for everyone in the Pirates organization. But we've worked very hard over the last several years to improve."

Besides running the Pirates, McClatchy is a member of Major League Baseball's executive council and the labor and international committees.

With McClatchy's return now official, the Pirates are not expected to make any major non-player personnel moves despite being a combined 56 games under .500 the last two seasons. General manager Dave Littlefield and manager Jim Tracy are under contract for two more years apiece.

The Pirates did shuffle some titles Wednesday without making any significant personnel changes.

Jim Plake was promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer after previously being a senior vice president and CFO. Dennis DaPra was named senior vice president and general manager of PNC Park; his title previously was vice president of PNC Park operations and facilities management. Tim Schuldt was named vice president and chief marketing and sales officer; his previous title was vice president of marketing, sales and broadcasting.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press