Update, 12:35 a.m.:
Executive Vice President Bob Wolfe, the Nationals’ most experienced voice on the business side of their operation, is leaving the organization.
“More than anyone who’s left, there will be a void that is felt,” said Harolyn Cardozo, special assistant to the general manager and one of the Nationals’ longest-tenured employees.
Wolfe worked for the Nationals since the franchise moved to Washington, serving for several years as the right-hand man to former president Stan Kasten, whom he also worked with in Atlanta. Only two people rank higher than Wolfe on the Nationals’ executive masthead: Lerner Sports Chief Operating Officer Alan Gottlieb and Nationals Chief Operating Officer Andy Feffer.
Wolfe’s expertise in the business of baseball helped build the Atlanta Braves into a powerhouse in the 1990s and helped entrench the Nationals in Washington. He guided the Nationals behind the scenes in myriad facets, from the construction of Nationals Park to the team’s transition after the Lerner family bought the team.
“Bob was a link with the beginning,” Cardozo said. “The numbers of staff who have been here since the team moved to Washington has dwindled to maybe a dozen. Bob was, for us, our link with the beginning.”
Wolfe is hugely respected inside the organization. For an executive with such influence, he knew every level of the staff and often made difficult situations with his humor. Wolfe surprised most of the staff when he informed them of his decision to leave, “there was more of a sentimental expression to him as a group,” Cardozo said.
Kasten and Wolfe had developed a complementary partnership. After Kasten departed the organization last fall, Wolfe helped stabilize the Nationals’ business side and Feffer assumed Kasten’s role on the business and marketing side.
“Stan was the face of the Nationals,” Cardozo said. “Bob was the foundation. Everything that Stan did was backed up by Bob. Stan would talk about what we were going to do. Bob did it.”