Major League Baseball owners yesterday in Phoenix unanimously approved the Pirates' request to install chairman of the board Bob Nutting as principal owner, replacing chief executive officer Kevin McClatchy.
The vote was 29-0. All 30 teams except the Pirates cast a vote.
After the vote, the owners and commissioner Bud Selig stood and applauded Nutting and McClatchy, each of whom attended.
"I think this is just a natural change," Selig said. "Kevin McClatchy, to his everlasting credit, has really run that club through very difficult times for a small market."
McClatchy bought the team in 1996 as the lead partner in the ownership group. The Pirates did not have a winning season under his watch, part of a 14-year losing streak.
He will continue to run the team's day-to-day operations, answering to Nutting.
"I am extremely appreciative of the strong support from commissioner Selig, Major League Baseball and the other owners," Nutting said. "It is truly an honor to be only the sixth principal owner of this historic franchise, something I take a great deal of pride in. I understand how important the Pirates are to the people of this region, and I share in their passion to see our team succeed."