By Paul Newberry
ATLANTA - John Schuerholz stepped aside as general manager of the Atlanta Braves on Thursday to become team president after assembling teams that won a record 14 straight division titles and the 1995 World Series championship.
Schuerholz, who turned 67 last week, remains second in command to chairman Terry McGuirk. Assistant general manager Frank Wren, a former GM with the Baltimore Orioles, replaced Schuerholz as the executive as the one who oversees trades, free-agent signings and other roster decisions.
The team had no immediate comment other than to schedule an afternoon news conference for a "major announcement." Schuerholz was baseball's longest-serving general manager with one team.
The Braves won 14 consecutive division titles from 1991 - Schuerholz's first season in Atlanta - until 2004, a streak unprecedented in any of the major American sports. The only blemish on his resume was a lack of success once his teams got the playoffs.
Atlanta's only World Series title came 12 years ago, a six-game victory over the Cleveland Indians that gave the city its first, and still only, major sports championship.
Four other times during the streak, the Braves lost in the World Series. They also were the losing team in four NL championship series, and were eliminated four more times in the division series.
After the team's ownership passed from Ted Turner to Time Warner, the Braves began to cut payroll though they remained one of the highest-spending teams in baseball.
In 2005, Atlanta's postseason streak ended with a losing season and third-place finish in the NL East. The Braves climbed back over .500 this season but again finished third, out of the playoffs.
Still, the postseason failures and recent slide do little to diminish Schuerholz's remarkable record of assembling talented teams year after year, with manager Bobby Cox running things in the dugout throughout the remarkable run.
The 66-year-old Cox has another year left on his contract.
More than two years ago, Schuerholz said he already had plotted out how his career as general manager would end, but he wouldn't give any details. Just last week, after the Braves wrapped up another playoff-less season, he refused to discuss his future.
"Move on to another one," he said. "I'm not going to go into that. No questions about that. Next subject."
Schuerholz came to the Braves from Kansas City in 1991, taking over a last-place team that had plenty of potential on its roster.