Okay, it’s over. New England won. Padres pitchers and catchers report to spring training in two weeks.
A year ago I wrote a column about NFL team owners and how they got their money. There were four career paths, to wit: inheriting a NFL team from Dad; inheriting a colossal amount of money from Dad; marry someone who owns an NFL team; and, finally, the ugly way, making your own money, then buying a team.
What about baseball?
Pods executive owner Ron Fowler earned his money through Liquid Investments, Inc. — beer distribution.
San Diego Padres have had six owners since 1968. The star of that gang is the founding owner, visionary C. Arnholt Smith. He was awarded an expansion franchise in 1968, indicted for tax evasion in 1973, sold the club in 1974, and, ten years later, went to federal prison for embezzlement and tax fraud. The man was a player. Forbes lists the Pods as the 17th most valuable franchise in MLB, valued at $615 million. The franchise was last acquired in 2012. Executive chairman of the ownership group is Ron Fowler. His money came from Liquid Investments Inc., of which he is chairman and CEO. Liquid Investments distributes beer to the imbibing citizens of California and Colorado.
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Odds to win the 2015 World Series
I should add a tribute to the third owner of the San Diego Padres, Joan Kroc. Her rise to ownership was standard enough: she married second owner Ray Kroc, who was pleased to die in 1984. Joan inherited the team and acres of money. But she was something different from any other MLB owner then, now, or ever. In 1990 Kroc offered to donate the Padres to the City of San Diego. As sweetener, she also offered to fund a $100 million trust to make sure the team stayed here. Giving things away! The horror! MLB declined to hear her plan.
Atlanta Braves. Valued at $730 million, good for 11th place. The franchise has been bought and sold 23 times since its founding in 1876 as the Boston Red Caps. Last acquired in 2007 by Liberty Media. Readers will be pleased to know that Liberty Media owns 57 percent of Sirius XM, 27 percent of Live Nation Entertainment, and, according to a January 24 Financial Times report, 12 analysts covering Liberty Media Corp. believe the company will outperform the market. And isn’t that what we all want?
Toronto Blue Jays. Valued at $610 million, ranked as 18th most valuable. There have been three owners since 1976. All three have been corporations. Last acquired by Rogers Communications in 2000. Rogers Communications is a big-deal Canadian communications and media company. It owns Rogers Cable, Rogers Telecom, Rogers Wireless, Rogers Home Monitoring, Rogers Media, Rogers Radio, Rogers Centre, and Rogers Bank, for openers. Ask permission before you enter Canada.
New York Yankees. Valued at $2.5 billion. Ranked number 1 in value. Hal Steinbrenner is principal owner. The Yankees have had 11 owners since 1903. Hal came by the Yankees in the usual way, inherited it from his father, George Steinbrenner. Dad led a group who bought the club in 1973 for less than $10 million. Dad’s starter money came from his Dad, a Great Lakes shipping tycoon.
Minnesota Twins. Valued at $605 million. Ranked 19th. Owner is James Pohlad. Squire James, keeping with MLB custom, inherited the team from Dad. Father Pohlad bought the team in 1984 for $44 million. Twins have had six owners since 1901, when it was founded in DC as the Washington Senators.
Chicago White Sox. Valued at $695 million, ranked 14th. The Sox have had eight owners since 1900, six of whom were related. Owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, who bought the team in 1981 for $20 million. Reinsdorf earned his money serving the greater good as an attorney specializing in real estate tax shelters.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Valued at $775 million, 10th place. Angels have had three humans and one corporation as owners since 1960. Currently owned by Arturo Moreno, who bought the team in 2003 for $184 million. Moreno started out in advertising, worked his way up to CEO of Outdoor Systems, a firm cloaked in obscurity. But, Outdoor Systems’ money spends as well as Goldman Sachs’. Moreno sold Outdoor in 2008 for $8 billion and the hometown folks of Anaheim couldn’t be happier.
Los Angeles Dodgers. Valued at $2 billion, number 2 on the list. The Dodgers have had 18 owners since 1883. The current owner is Guggenheim Baseball Management, which is connected to Guggenheim Partners, LLC, a global investment and advisory financial services firm, whatever that means, with $220 billion worth of assets under management. Said entity bought the team in 2012 for $2 billion. The Box wishes Guggenheim Baseball Management all the luck in the world as its holding enters the 2015 season.