By Will Lingo
April 15, 2002
Miles Wolff, who created an entirely new segment of minor league baseball with the founding of the Northern League in 1993, has stepped down as commissioner of the league.
Wolff resigned as leader of the Northern League Central (the original Northern League), but will remain commissioner of the Northern League East and the Central League.
“It just seemed like a good time to move on, to do some other things,” Wolff said. “We have eight new ballparks in the division and many strong franchises.
“The other leagues certainly aren't as strong as the (Northern League) Central, so it will be more of a challenge.”
The Northern League is already looking for a new commissioner, who presumably will move the league office out of Durham, N.C.
The alliance between the Northern Central and East is also not likely to continue after this season, so the East would have to be renamed. The leagues effectively merged after the 1998 season, though the merger has never been finalized.
“If a vote were taken today, the merger would not go through,” Wolff said.
There have been rumblings among the original Northern League teams that Wolff has focused more on the other leagues, and he acknowledges that he finds the most enjoyment in building leagues up.
“There was some mild unhappiness that I was spending time with the other leagues,” he said. “That was one reason, and I just decided it was time to maybe move on.”
Once the new commissioner is chosen, Wolff will have no connection to the original Northern League, which has almost none of the owners Wolff attracted to his independent idea. “It's a much different group than what we started out with,” he said.