The Principal Owners of MLB’s 30 Teams and How They Got Their Fortunes

This list of the principal owners in MLB comes from Wikipedia, with two changes by me where Wikipedia was outdated:

Arizona Diamondbacks: Ken Kendrick
Atlanta Braves: Liberty Media
Baltimore Orioles: Peter Angelos
Boston Red Sox: John W. Henry
Chicago Cubs: Thomas S. Ricketts
Chicago White Sox: Jerry Reinsdorf
Cincinnati Reds: Robert Castellini
Cleveland Indians: Larry Dolan
Colorado Rockies: Charlie Monfort
Detroit Tigers: Mike Ilitch
Houston Astros: Jim Crane
Kansas City Royals: David Glass
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Arturo Moreno
Los Angeles Dodgers: Mark Walter
Miami Marlins: Jeffrey Loria
Milwaukee Brewers: Mark Attanasio
Minnesota Twins: Jim Pohlad
New York Mets: Fred Wilpon
New York Yankees: Hal Steinbrenner
Oakland Athletics: Lewis Wolff
Philadelphia Phillies: David Montgomery
Pittsburgh Pirates: Robert Nutting
San Diego Padres: Ron Fowler
San Francisco Giants: Charles Bartlett Johnson
Seattle Mariners: Nintendo
St. Louis Cardinals: William DeWitt, Jr.
Tampa Bay Rays: Stuart Sternberg
Texas Rangers: Bob R. Simpson and Ray Davis
Toronto Blue Jays: Rogers Communications
Washington Nationals: Lerner Enterprises

Here is a breakdown of how these owners made their fortunes:

Four in media/entertainment: Liberty Media, Rogers Communications, Robert Nutting, Nintendo

Six in finance, that is, Wall Street, bonds/stocks, and banking: John Henry, Thomas Ricketts, Mark Walter, Mark Attanasio, Charles Bartlett Johnson, Stuart Sternberg

Four in real estate: Jerry Reinsdorf, Fred Wilpon, Lewis Wolff, Lerner Enterprises

10 in business enterprises of one sort or another, frequently in several enterprises: Ken Kendrick, Robert Castellini, Charlie Monfort, Mike Ilitch, Jim Crane, David Glass, Arturo Moreno, Jeffrey Loria, William DeWitt, Jr., Bob R. Simpson and Ray Davis

3 in the law: Peter Angelos, Larry Dolan, Ron Fowler

2 inherited fortunes: Jim Pohlad, Hal Steinbrenner (Pohlad’s earned in banking and a variety of companies, Steinbrenner’s in shipbuilding and the growth of the Yankees)

1 from within baseball: David Montgomery, who began working for the Phillies in the early ’70s

The figures provided by Wikipedia show that 29 of the MLB franchises were bought for $7.63 billion, plus the $2 billion recently paid for the Dodgers, which makes a total of $9.63 billion paid for 30 franchises. Four of the 30 were bought before the ’90s.

There has been growing talk of the U.S. going through a second Gilded Age as the gap between the rich and everyone else gets bigger. In light of that, it’s worth noting the increasing prices paid for MLB franchises. The last somewhat normal person, financially speaking, that I remember with a majority stake in a franchise was Marge Schott, the Reds owner in the ’80s and ’90s.

Also, finance, real estate, and media/entertainment, which have emerged as three of the dominant U.S. industries in the past few decades, as the economy moves away from manufacturing and toward the service sector, account for 14 of the 30 ownerships in MLB. “Technology”-that is, the Internet, software, smart phones, social media, etc.-account for none of the 30.

Published in: Uncategorized on May 6, 2014 at 7:36 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. There will be a few trends worth watching over the next several years. 1) Will an increasing number of teams be owned by conglomerates of one sort or another, vs. being owned by individuals or family dynasties.
    2) Will an increasing number of teams be passed down from fathers to sons (or daughters) like so many play things as a new permanent upper-class solidifies.
    3) Will we see any new minority faces among franchise owners, especially blacks and Hispanics, and if not, why not?
    Interesting info,

  2. Great list, but I think that the number of “inherited fortunes” should be much higher. Out of all the owners on the list I can’t name any that were purely “self-made”. The MLB is still ruled by “old money”.

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