Alan Stein, president and chief executive of the Lexington Legends, announced his retirement Thursday, effective immediately, the team said.
A day earlier, Stein, 59, stepped down as president of the Omaha (Neb.) Storm Chasers minor-league baseball team. "I don't think it's that big a deal, but everyone else seems to," Stein said.
He said he has been considering retirement for about a year. With the end of the season and the teams' fiscal year, he said, "This week was the time to do it."
"It's just the right time," he said. "We have very successful and stable management in all of our clubs. We had a great year, a successful year."
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Andy Shea, who recently completed his fourth season as general manager of the Legends, will succeed Stein as president and CEO of the Lexington club.
Stein, a Lexington native, headed the effort to establish the Legends, who began play in 2001. He put together a group of private investors in the late 1990s after attempts to acquire public funding were rejected, and he had served in a leadership capacity with the Legends throughout the team's 11-season history.
"The Legends and this ballpark are the culmination of my lifetime dreams," Stein said in the team's news release. "I am very proud of what we have together accomplished. For me, it's always been about the fans' experience and our involvement in making our communities better."
William Shea, chairman of Ivy Walls Management, which owns the Legends, said Stein will be missed.
"Alan Stein's leadership brought professional baseball back to Lexington and helped make the Legends one of the outstanding operations in sports," Shea said in the team's release. "We deeply appreciate Alan's service and wish him all the best in the future."
Andy Shea, Stein's successor, said Stein was the first person he met when he moved to Lexington.
"He has been a major part of my life both personally and professionally," Shea said through the team. "Alan's actions in the community are incredible, and he is a true inspiration to my life and how I treat every day as a member of the Lexington Legends. He always has been and always will be a key part in the Legends success and history."
For the past six seasons, Stein also was president of the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers of the Pacific Coast League. He was named national co-executive of the year in 2011 by Ballpark Digest. Omaha general manager Martie Cordaro, who received the digest's award with Stein, will assume the roles of president and general manager of the Storm Chasers, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Stein was elected to the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame in 2005. He was the South Atlantic League representative on the Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees, and he rose to the position of vice chairman. Among many business-related honors, he was elected to the Junior Achievement Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame.
Stein was a familiar presence at the ballpark, greeting fans during the games and asking for their comments as they left. He was known for his annual "guarantee" of a Legends victory in each season-opening game — and for paying the price when the Legends lost.
Stein, a successful entrepreneur in Lexington long before the Legends were established, plans to take some time off before beginning "one more adventure" in his business career.
At present, Stein said, he doesn't know what that adventure might be. He joked that he didn't think it would be politics because he already had enough politicians in the family. He did say that his wife, State Sen. Kathy Stein, and their three children were looking forward to spending more time with him.
"This'll be a chance to get off the road. Let someone else have the frequent-flier miles," he said.
Stein said he already has some offers in the baseball industry. In the meantime, though, he's not making any decisions.
"I'm going to listen and have a cocktail. Just think things through," he said.