PHOENIX -- Jerry Colangelo resigned as chief executive
officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday, four months ahead
Colangelo, who agreed last month to leave on Dec. 31, will
remain as chairman through the 2005 season and then serve as
emeritus team executive, the club said. He also will have duties as
a liaison between the team and major league baseball.
Colangelo was forced out on Aug. 6 by four businessmen who
became majority owners two years ago. In the same power move,
player agent Jeff Moorad was hired as Colangelo's replacement.
Moorad, who wasn't scheduled to become the CEO until Jan. 1,
will now take over on Oct. 15.
"After spending time with Jeff and upon further conversation
with the team's general partners, I am confident that Jeff is up
for the task and am comfortable with him taking the reins of the
organization," Colangelo said in a statement.
Colangelo brought a major league baseball franchise to Arizona
in 1998, and the Diamondbacks won the World Series three years
later. But he plunged the team into debt to sign the veteran
players who beat the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series.
That opened the way for partners from outside his personal
circle to sign on, and eventually to his ouster.
Utilityman Greg Colbrunn, acquired from Seattle last winter for
his second stint with the Diamondbacks, said Colangelo deserves to
be remembered for his winning touch.
"He not only brought big-league baseball to Phoenix, he brought
three division titles and one world championship, and it was while
he was in charge," Colbrunn said. "The respect that he commands
Injured left fielder Luis Gonzalez, a former client of Moorad,
had mixed feelings about the development.
"I'm excited for Jeff, and I'm going to miss Jerry at the same
time," Gonzalez said.