Alan Stein, president and chief executive officer of the Lexington Legends, has announced his retirement, effective immediately.
Stein, a Lexington native, headed the effort to establish the Legends, who began play in 2001. He put together a group of private investors in the late 1990s after attempts to acquire public funding were rejected, and had served in a leadership capacity with the Legends throughout the team’s 11- season history.
“The Legends and this ballpark are the culmination of my lifetime dreams,” Stein said. “I am very proud of what we have together accomplished. For me, it’s always been about the fans’ experience and our involvement in making our communities better.”
“Alan Stein’s leadership brought professional baseball back to Lexington and helped make the Legends one of the outstanding operations in sports,” said William Shea, chairman of Ivy Walls Management, which owns the Legends. “We deeply appreciate Alan’s service, and wish him all the best in the future.”
”Alan is the first person I met when I moved to Lexington, and he has been a major part of my life both personally and professionally,” said Andy Shea, who will succeed Stein as president and CEO. Andy Shea recently completed his fourth season as general manager of the Legends.
“Alan’s actions in the community are incredible, and he is a true inspiration to my life and how I treat every day as a member of the Lexington Legends,” Andy Shea added. “He always has been and always will be a key part in the Legends success and history.”
For the past six seasons, Stein was president of the triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers of the Pacific Coast League. He was named national co-executive of the year in 2011 by Ballpark Digest. Stein announced his retirement from the Omaha position Tuesday.
He was elected to the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame in 2005. He served as the South Atlantic League representative on the Minor League Baseball Board of Trustees, and rose to the position
of vice chairman. Among many business-related honors, he was elected to the Junior Achievement Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame.
Stein was a familiar presence at the ballpark, greeting fans during the games and asking for their comments as they left. He was known for his annual “guarantee” of a Legends victory in each season-opening game – and for paying the price if the Legends lost. He ate cat food after a loss to the Charleston, West Virginia team, then known as the Alley Cats. In other seasons, he remained in his seat until the Legends won, served as a batboy, and shaved his head – and then sold advertising space on the clean-shaven dome. After an opening loss in 2011, per his guarantee, he came to the next home game dressed in a Tennessee-orange sport coat reminiscent of former Vols’ men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl.
Stein, a successful entrepreneur in Lexington long before the Legends were established, plans to take some time off before beginning “one more adventure” in his business career.