In an announcement catching many off guard on Thursday, Oakland Athletics managing partner Lew Wolff decided to step down from his post. John Fisher, who is the majority owner of the team, will take over the responsibilities of the managing partner as well, despite his reclusive personality.

Transition of power

Wolff and Fisher worked together to purchase the Athletics in 2005, which came after Wolff's time being a co-owner with the NHL's St. Louis Blues and the NBA's Golden State Warriors. Shortly after making the purchase, the ownership group revived the San Jose Earthquakes, a defunct MLS team who began playing again in 2008.

The passing of power from Wolff to Fisher isn't the only significant personnel shakeup for the team. Michael Crowley, who has been the president of the Athletics for the past 18 years, will now serve as an adviser to the new president of the team, David Kaval, who served in the same capacity with the Earthquakes.

Wolff will retain his ownership stake in the MLS franchise.

Success turns into struggles

Wolff's ownership of the Athletics fostered in a new era of success for the team -- for a while, anyway. The A's won three American League West titles and made four playoff trips during his ownership, though never making it to the World Series. In recent years, the franchise has cratered as they've failed to develop a farm system and dealt away any players with marginal major league talent.

The team has finished last in the AL West in the past two seasons and placed in the bottom five in terms of MLB payrolls.

Ever since Wolff bought the team, there has been a struggle to move out of the dilapidated O.co Coliseum, the Athletics' stadium. Wolff tried moving the team to Fremont with no success, then San Jose, where he was rejected due to the territorial rights of the San Francisco Giants.

The stadium has been known to be one of the worst places to watch a game in the country, with headlines often appearing about sewage problems. In 2014, however, the team signed a 10-year lease to remain at O.co Coliseum in Oakland.

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