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Miles Wolff named one of baseball's most important people

September 15, 2004 - Canadian American League (Can-Am) News Release

Miles Wolff was recently selected as the 79th most important person in baseball history by John Thorn and Alan Schwarz in the eighth edition of Total Baseball: The Ultimate Baseball Encyclopedia. Total Baseball was launched in 1989 and is the most compelling and exhaustive reference series ever devoted to America's pastime. Aside from Thorn and Schwarz, Phil Birnbaum, Bill Deane, Rob Neyer, Donald Dewey, Nicholas Acocella and Peter Wayner all contributed to the most current edition.

Wolff is the current owner of the Burlington Indians, the Rookie League Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, Les Capitales de Quebec of the Northeast League and serves as the Commissioner of both the Central Baseball League and Northeast League. In addition, he has owned other professional baseball teams in Butte, Mont., Asheville, N.C., Utica, N.Y., and Pulaski, Va. He also once owned the Raleigh (N.C.) IceCaps hockey team.

Wolff has written two books, Season of the Owl (1980), a novel about minor league baseball, and Lunch at the 5 & 10 (1970) , an account of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins by black students at the Woolworth's eatery. He is also the co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (1997).

Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in liberal arts, Wolff earned a master's degree in southern history at the University of Virginia. He served active duty as a supply officer in the U.S. Navy from 1967-70 on the USS Charles P. Cecil (DD-835) and USS Puget Sound (AD-38).

Below is the passage from the book and the list of the Top 100 Most Important People in Baseball History:

"More than anyone, Miles Wolff is responsible for the modern renaissance of minor league baseball, as it emerged from the lean years of the 1960's and 70's to the boom of the 1980's and 90's. Wolff bought the Carolina League's Durham Bulls for just $2,666 in 1979, nurtured it into a local success, and owned the franchise as it became a national symbol of the minor leagues after the release of the film Bull Durham in 1988. He sold the team in 1990 for $4 million just as the minors began to flourish again.

A baseball purist at heart, Wolff grew frustrated at the money-and marketing-driven approach exhibited by the regular minor leagues, whose clubs were beholden to the major league organizations to which they fed players. (Communities rarely got to know the best players, because they were promoted to the next level within three to sixth months.)

So in 1993, Wolff re-established the Northern League, a circuit in the upper Midwest made up of teams that operated outside the sphere of Organized Baseball. The Northern League's six clubs signed players---often minor league veterans on their way down or overlooked collegians---to stock their rosters. The Northern League was an instant success and spawned imitators across the country.

Wolff's first baseball job came in 1971 as the general manager of the Double-A Savannah (Georgia) Braves, and he subsequently was a GM in Anderson, South Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida.

Wolff also owned Baseball America, the Durham-based magazine of the minor leagues, for most of its lifetime. He bought the magazine from founder Allan Simpson in 1982 and served as president and publisher until selling the company in 2000."

1. Babe Ruth
2. Jackie Robinson
3. Alexander Cartwright
4. Marvin Miller
5. Branch Rickey
6. Roberto Clemente
7. Henry Chadwick
8. Jim Creighton
9. Kenesaw Mountain Landis
10. George Steinbrenner
11. Joe DiMaggio
12. Hank Aaron
13. John McGraw
14. Connie Mack
15. Walter O'Malley
16. John Montgomery Ward
17. Cal Ripken
18. Mickey Mantle
19. Christy Mathewson
20. Curt Flood
21. Bud Selig
22. Jim Bouton
23. Candy Cummings
24. Satchel Paige
25. Willie Mays
26. Nap Lajoie
27. Barry Bonds
28. Harry & George Wright
29. Ty Cobb
30. Ted Williams
31. Walter Johnson
32. Bruce Sutter
33. Earl Weaver
34. Joe Jackson
35. Judge Bramham
36. Ray Chapman
37. Nolan Ryan
38. Honus Wagner
39. Alex Rodriguez
40. Bill James
41. Sandy Alderson
42. Sol White
43. Red Barber
44. Pete Rose
45. Larry MacPhail
46. Rickey Henderson
47. Greg Maddux
48. Cy Young
49. Peter V. Ueberroth
50. Tony La Russa
51. William Hulbert
52. Ban Johnson
53. Mark McGwire
54. Sammy Sosa
55. Albert Spalding
56. Ichiro Suzuki
57. Reggie Jackson
58. Dan Okrent
59. Rube Foster
60. Luis Aparicio
61. The Spink Family
62. Ozzie Smith
63. Jacob Ruppert
64. Cap Anson
65. Bill Veeck
66. Dizzy Dean
67. Joe Spear
68. Frank Robinson
69. Donald Fehr
70. George Weiss
71. Sadaharu Oh
72. Abner Doubleday
73. Lou Gehrig
74. John Dewan
75. Bill Doak
76. Casey Stengel
77. Rube Waddell
78. Hank Greenberg
79. Miles Wolff
80. King Kelly
81. Livan Hernandez
82. Hal Richman
83. Peter Seitz
84. Ken Griffey, Jr.
85. Bob Feller
86. David Neft
87. John Schuerholz
88. Minnie Minoso
89. Harry Carey
90. Dick Young
91. Scott Boras
92. Frank Bancroft
93. Arch Ward
94. Martin Dihigo
95. Roger Kahn
96. Lefty O'Doul
97. Ned Hanlon
98. Whitey Herzog
99. Carl Hubbell
100. Mel Allen

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