Bill Giles, chairman of the Philadelphia Phillies and the team's president until 27 months ago, will give up his day-to-day responsibilities with the team.
"Retirement isn't quite the right word," Giles, 65, told The Philadelphia Inquirer in an interview published today. "I've just decided to stop working so hard."
Giles said he will remain as chairman, a title he assumed in June 1997, when he was replaced as team president by David Montgomery.
"I've made an arrangement with the other partners that I'm not going to work hard if I don't want to," Giles said. "I'll enjoy other things in the world instead of worrying about building a stadium."
The team's effort to build a new baseball-only park just a few blocks north of City Hall had been Giles' project, but he turned that job over to Montgomery last winter.
Neighborhood opponents of the stadium project as proposed by the Phillies have been vocal, and Giles put the chances the park would actually be built at Broad and Spring Garden Streets at "50-50," significantly lower than the 70-30 odds Mayor Edward Rendell gave the downtown stadium project a month ago.
"There still might be a way to pull it off, but the hurdles are getting higher," Giles said.
Giles said he would keep his 15 percent ownership in the team "as long as I'm alive."
But he also admitted for the first time that his decision to step down as team president had not been voluntary, as had been reported in the past.
"It wasn't `Do it or else.' I wasn't forced out," Giles said. "It was a strong suggestion, but it was my decision. The business part of the game had gotten to me. I wasn't as effective as I had been. Some of the partners said `Don't you think it's time to let a younger man worry about all those things?' "
Giles, the son of former National League president Warren Giles, had a background in promotion and public relations when, as president of the Phillies, he put together an investment group that bought the team in October 1981.
While he was in charge, the Phillies had only four winning seasons. In two of them, however, they went to the World Series. Giles played a major role in building the team that won the World Series in 1980, including convincing former owner Ruly Carpenter to hire free agent Pete Rose.
"This team is moving in the right direction," he said. "And so am I."
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