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Faces not in your crowd: The billionaire owners who rule baseball

MLB team owners.
MLB team owners (clockwise from top left): Mark Walter (Dodgers), Arte Moreno (Angels), Hal Steinbrenner (Yankees), John Henry (Red Sox), Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox) and Tom Ricketts (Cubs).
(Getty Images)
1

MLB players you know: their names, their faces, their salaries, their portrayal by the league’s owners as a collection of ingrate millionaires. The owners, in all likelihood, you are less familiar with beyond their collective billionaire status.

Indeed, nearly three-quarters of the game’s primary owners have net worths north of 10 figures, and all but one of them have seen their franchise values appreciate since their purchases, often extraordinarily. Below is a list of the men who brought baseball to the brink during negotiations with players to launch a 2020 season. Hard feelings will lead to hard lines drawn in the sand ahead of next year’s collective bargaining talks.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

2

Baltimore Orioles

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Baltimore Orioles principal owner Peter G. Angelos speaks to reporters.
Baltimore Orioles principal owner Peter G. Angelos.
(Steve Ruark / Associated Press)

Chairman of the board/CEO: Peter G. Angelos

Net worth: $2 billion

Purchase price: $173 million (1993)

Current franchise valuation: $1.4 billion

Value appreciation: 709%

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Annualized appreciation: 8.1%

How he made his billions: As one of Maryland’s most prominent attorneys, Angelos, 90, won billions of dollars in judgments against the tobacco industry and for plaintiffs in asbestos exposure lawsuits.

Fast facts: His reputation as a controlling and impatient meddler who burns through front-office executives and signs too many over-the-hill stars (Albert Belle, Sammy Sosa) earned Angelos the title of “worst owner in baseball” by Sports Illustrated in 2009. But Angelos scored points with the union for refusing to field a team of replacement players during the 1994-95 strike.

3

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry speaks at a news conference.
Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry.
(Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

Principal owner: John W. Henry

Net worth: $2.6 billion

Purchase price: $380 million (2002)

Current franchise valuation: $3.3 billion

Value appreciation: 768%

Annualized appreciation: 12.8%

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How he made his billions: Henry, 70, started trading corn and soybean futures in his early 20s. He founded the John W. Henry & Company in a small office across the street from the Orange County Airport in 1981 and soon began marketing his management strategies to the largest commodity brokerage firms in the U.S.

Fast facts: In 2001, Henry and co-owner Tom Werner formed the Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Liverpool Football Club and 80% of the New England Sports Network. Henry also owns The Boston Globe.

4

Chicago White Sox

Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf speaks before a game.
Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
(Jeff Haynes / Associated Press)

Chairman: Jerry Reinsdorf

Net worth: $1.5 billion

Purchase price: $20 million (1981)

Current franchise valuation: $1.65 billion

Value appreciation: 8,150%

Annualized appreciation: 12%

How he made his billions: Reinsdorf, 84, developed a specialty in real estate partnership tax shelters and in 1973 formed the Balcor Company, which he sold to American Express for $102 million in 1982. He made a second fortune as part of an investment group that bought the Chicago Bulls for $16 million in 1985. The NBA team, which won six titles with Michael Jordan, is now valued at $3.2 billion.

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Fast fact: Known as one of baseball’s anti-union hard-liners, Reinsdorf was a driving force behind the revenue sharing of internet rights from MLB Advanced Media, which was established in 2000. Growing up in the shadows of Ebbets Field, Reinsdorf was in the stands the day Jackie Robinson made his debut in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color barrier.

5

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians president and controlling owner Paul Dolan speaks to reporters.
Cleveland Indians president and controlling owner Paul Dolan.
(Phil Long / Associated Press)

Principal owner: Lawrence J. Dolan

Controlling owner: Paul J. Dolan

Net worth: $4.6 billion

Purchase price: $323 million (2000)

Current franchise valuation: $1.15 billion

Value appreciation: 256%

Annualized appreciation: 6.6%

How they made their billions: Family patriarch Charles Dolan, the brother of Larry Dolan and the uncle of Paul Dolan, was a cable television pioneer who launched Cablevision on Long Island in 1973 and sold the company to Altice for $17.7 billion in 2016.

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Fast fact: The Indians have been a picture of stability under the Dolans, with four primary managers (Charlie Manuel, Eric Wedge, Manny Acta and Terry Francona) and three general managers (Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff) in 20 years.

6

Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch attends a news conference.
Detroit Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Owner: Ilitch Holdings, Inc.

Net worth: $3.8 billion

Purchase price: $82 million (1992)

Current franchise valuation: $1.25 billion

Value appreciation: 1,424%

Annualized appreciation: 10.2%

How they made their billions: Mike and Marian Ilitch founded the Little Caesar’s Pizza chain in 1959. Mike Ilitch died in 2017, but his wife still owns the chain, which generates more than $4 billion in annual sales. The family also owns the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

Fast fact: Christopher Ilitch, 55, the youngest son of Mike and Marian and one of the couple’s seven children, took over as owner of the Tigers and Red Wings after Mike died. The Tigers enjoyed success from 2006-2014, with five playoff appearances and two World Series losses, but have lost 310 games the past three seasons.

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7

Houston Astros

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane speaks during a news conference.
Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

Owner and chairman: Jim Crane

Net worth: $1.3 billion

Purchase price: $465 million (2011)

Current franchise valuation: $1.85 billion

Value appreciation: 298%

Annualized appreciation: 5.1%

How he made his billions: Crane, 66, founded Eagle Global Logistics, an air-freight transportation and distribution business, in 1984, and he is now the CEO and chairman of the Crane Capital Group, an investment management company.

Fast facts: Under Crane, the Astros went from three straight 100-loss seasons from 2011-2013 to three straight 100-win seasons from 2017-2019. They won the 2017 World Series over the Dodgers and the 2019 AL pennant. But Crane was heavily criticized in February for his tone-deaf comments in the wake of Houston’s cheating scandal, when he said stealing signs “didn’t impact the game.”

8

Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman watches a workout during spring training.
Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

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Chairman and CEO: John Sherman

Net worth: $1.25 billion

Purchase price: $1 billion (2019)

Current franchise valuation: $1.025 billion

Value appreciation: 2.5%

Annualized appreciation: 2.5%

How he made his billions: Sherman, 64, is the founder and CEO of Inergy, L.P. and Inergy Midstream, which in 2013 merged with Crestwood Holdings to create one of North America’s largest energy companies, currently estimated to be worth nearly $9 billion.

Fast facts: Sherman was an Indians minority owner for three years before purchasing the Royals from David Glass. His ownership group includes 22 individuals and companies with ties to the Kansas City area. That is not surprising. A 40-year Kansas City resident, Sherman has been one of the city’s most influential leaders, businessmen and philanthropists for decades.

9

Los Angeles Angels

Angels owner Arte Moreno attends a game.
Angels owner Arte Moreno.
(Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

Owner: Arte Moreno

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Net worth: $3.3 billion

Purchase price: $183.5 million (2003)

Current franchise valuation: $1.975 billion

Value appreciation: 980%

Annualized appreciation: 15%

How he made his billions: The oldest of 11 children raised in Tucson, Ariz., and a Vietnam veteran, Moreno, 73, made his early money through billboard advertising. He sold his company, Outdoor Systems, to Infinity Broadcasting for $8.7 billion in 1999 and was a minority owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks before purchasing the Angels.

Fast facts: Moreno endeared himself to fans by lowering beer prices and spending lavishly to sign and retain premium players such as Vladimir Guerrero, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, but his move to change the team’s name from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels outraged city officials, alienated some Orange County fans and led to a lengthy and costly lawsuit — which he won.

10

Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins owner Jim Pohlad looks out from the dugout.
Minnesota Twins owner Jim Pohlad.
(Ann Heisenfelt / Associated Press)

Executive chair: Jim Pohlad

Net worth: $3.8 billion (Pohlad family)

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Purchase price: $44 million (1984)

Current franchise valuation: $1.3 billion

Value appreciation: 2,855%

Annualized appreciation: 9.9%

How he made his billions: Jim Pohlad, 67, took over as the team’s chief executive after his father, Carl Pohlad, died at age 93 in 2009. Jim and his two brothers, Bill and Bob, own and manage a group of more than 30 diversified Minneapolis-based businesses they inherited from their father, a self-made billionaire who launched a banking and financial services firm in the 1950s.

Fast facts: Pohlad, who studied accounting at USC and is a CPA, is the public face of the franchise, an owner who is accessible to fans and the media and often interacts with both. But he has taken a hands-off approach to the team, trusting his front office to make baseball decisions.

11

New York Yankees

Hal Steinbrenner, principal owner, managing general partner and co-chairman of the New York Yankees.
New York Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner.
(John Raoux / Associated Press)

Managing general partner: Hal Steinbrenner

Net worth: $3.8 billion (Steinbrenner family)

Purchase price: $8.8 million (1973)

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Current franchise valuation: $5 billion

Value appreciation: 56,718%

Annualized appreciation: 14.5%

How he made his billions: Steinbrenner, 50, and his brother, Hank, who died April 14, inherited the team from their father, George Steinbrenner, the controversial, outspoken former Yankees owner who, in the early 1960s purchased the family’s shipbuilding company that grossed more than $100 million annually in sales. George Steinbrenner died in 2010.

Fast fact: A wallflower compared to his bombastic father, Hal Steinbrenner has remained largely out of the public eye, preferring to let Yankees President Randy Levine and GM Brian Cashman speak for the team. “I’m not trying to be George,” Hal told ESPN in 2016. “I never walked into this with the concept of trying to act like George, trying to be everything that George was, because I can’t. Nobody can.”

12

Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics managing partner John Fisher.
(Michael Zagaris / Getty Images)

Managing partner: John Fisher

Net worth: $2.2 billion

Purchased price: $180 million (2005)

Current franchise valuation: $1.1 billion

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Value appreciation: 511%

Annualized appreciation: 12.9%

How he made his billions: Fisher, 59, is the son of Donald and Doris Fisher, who founded the retail clothing giant Gap Inc. in 1969. John sold 650,000 shares of Gap stock valued at $19.7 million in 2017 and still owns more than 2 million shares of company stock, valued at more than $70 million. He also co-founded an investment firm, Sansome Partners.

Fast fact: Fisher, who graduated from Princeton and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford, is also a part-owner of two soccer teams, the MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes and Scotland’s Celtic FC. His most pressing challenge is to broker a deal for a new stadium to replace the decrepit Oakland Coliseum and keep the small-market A’s in Oakland.

13

Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners owner John Stanton stands on the field.
Seattle Mariners owner John Stanton.
(Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Chairman and managing partner: John Stanton

Net worth: $1.1 billion

Purchase price: $1.2 billion (2016)

Current franchise valuation: $1.6 billion

Value appreciation: 23%

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Annualized appreciation: 7.5%

How he made his billions: Stanton, 64, served as the head of several wireless companies in the 1980s and is now the chairman of Trilogy International Partners, a Bellevue, Wash.-based private equity firm that specializes in early-state wireless investments and owns and operates wireless telecommunications companies in New Zealand and Bolivia.

Fast facts: Amid mounting losses on the field and declining attendance, Stanton admitted 2019 was a “step-back year” for the perennially rebuilding Mariners, who went 68-94 and haven’t reached the playoffs since 2001. “I worry about the fans in the ballpark and about the fans that are watching us on TV,” Stanton told the Seattle Times. “I want to deliver a quality product to them every game.”

14

Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg watches his pitching staff throw.
Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

Principal owner: Stuart Sternberg

Net worth: $800 million

Purchase price: $200 million (2004)

Current franchise valuation: $1.05 billion

Value appreciation: 425%

Annualized appreciation: 10.9%

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How he made his millions: Sternberg, 61, began his Wall Street career trading equity options part-time at the American Stock Exchange while attending St. John’s University in New York. He was hired by the investment group Spear, Leeds & Kellogg before moving to Goldman Sachs, becoming a partner for the company before retiring in 2002.

Fast fact: The low-budget Rays have baseball’s fifth-best record (1,041-904) and made five trips to the playoffs in the last 12 years after going a major league-worst 645-972 in their first decade. But Sternberg has been so frustrated with efforts to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area that he’s had discussions with Wall Street associates about moving the team to Montreal.

15

Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers co-chairman Ray Davis stands during the national anthem.
Texas Rangers co-chairman Ray Davis.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

Co-chairmen: Ray C. Davis, Bob R. Simpson

Net worth: $2 billion (Davis)

Purchase price: $593 million (2010)

Current franchise valuation: $1.75 billion

Value Appreciation: 195%

Annualized appreciation: 11.4%

How they made their billions: Davis, 78, founded Energy Transfer, a pipeline company and natural gas distributor, in 1995. The company finished work on the controversial 1,172-mile, $3.8-billion Dakota Access Pipeline in 2017. Simpson, 60, co-founded the Cross Timbers Oil Company in 1985. The company changed its name to XTO Energy in 2001 and was sold to ExxonMobil for $41 billion in 2010.

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Fast facts: Dubbed the “Undercover Billionaire” by D Magazine, Davis is such a recluse that he declined to comment on his purchase of the Rangers, telling reporters he doesn’t grant interviews. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in 2018 that “Simpson’s involvement with the club is all but non-existent” and that his relationship with Davis “is equally minimal.”

16

Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays chairman Edward S. Rogers III.
(George Pimentel / Getty Images)

Chairman: Edward S. Rogers III

Net worth: $11.5 billion (CAD; Rogers family)

Purchase price: $165 million (2000)

Current franchise valuation: $1.625 billion

Value Appreciation: 849%

Annualized appreciation: 12.1%

How he made his billions: Rogers, 51, is chairman of Rogers Communications Inc. and Rogers Bank and director of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. He focused much of his early career with Rogers on innovation — in 1997 he launched wireless data at Rogers Wireless and helped launch the Blackberry.

Fast facts: Rogers’ father, Edward S. Rogers Jr., was a pioneer in the Canadian communications industry who established Rogers Communications in 1967 and was the fifth-richest person in Canada by net worth when he died in 2009. Blue Jays President and CEO Mark Shapiro runs the day-to-day operations of the team.

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NATIONAL LEAGUE

17

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Managing general partner: Ken Kendrick

Net worth: $600 million (estimate)

Purchase price: $238 million (2004)

Current franchise valuation: $1.29 billion

Value Appreciation: 442%

Annualized appreciation: 11.1%

How he made his millions: Kendrick, 77, founded Datatel Inc., a company that specializes in information processing and software products for higher education. He leads a three-man ownership group that includes Jeffrey Royer and Michael Chipman, all of whom have owned at least a portion of the club since its inception in 1998.

Fast facts: Kendrick owns more than 10,000 baseball cards, including the most expensive baseball card in history, the T206 Honus Wagner, which he purchased for $2.8 million in 2016. Under his leadership, the team has eliminated more than $200 million of debt through equity and debt restructures.

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18

Atlanta Braves

John C. Malone, chairman of Liberty Media Group
(Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

Owner: Liberty Media Corporation (John C. Malone)

Net worth: $6.6 billion

Purchase price: $450 million (2007)

Current franchise valuation: $1.8 billion

Value appreciation: 300%

Annualized appreciation: 11.2%

How he made his billions: Malone, 79, served as president and CEO of cable and media giant Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) for 24 years before becoming chairman of the Liberty Media Group in 1996.

Fast facts: Malone is the largest landowner in the U.S., with some 2.1 million acres of properties.

19

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs chairman Thomas S. Ricketts talks.
Chicago Cubs chairman Thomas S. Ricketts.
(Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)

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Chairman: Thomas S. Ricketts

Net worth: $1.8 billion (Ricketts family)

Purchase price: $700 million (2009)

Current franchise valuation: $3.2 billion

Value Appreciation: 357%

Annualized appreciation: 14.8%

How they made their billions: Ricketts, 57, is the son of Joe Ricketts, an early online stock-trading pioneer and founder of the brokerage firm Ameritrade, which went public in 1997 and spent $2.9 billion to buy TD Waterhouse 2006. Ricketts is also the chairman, co-founder and former CEO of Incapital LLC, an investment firm.

Fast facts: Ricketts shares club ownership with three siblings — Todd Ricketts, the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee who is spearheading fundraising for President Donald Trump’s reelection, Peter Ricketts, the current Republican governor of Nebraska, and Laura Ricketts, a former corporate lawyer and Joe Biden supporter and activist for the rights of gay and transgender people.

20

Cincinnati Reds

Robert Castellini, CEO of the Cincinnati Reds.
Cincinnati Reds CEO Robert H. Castellini.
(John Minchillo / Associated Press)

CEO: Robert H. Castellini

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Net worth: $400 million

Purchase price: $270 million (2006)

Current franchise valuation: $1.075 billion

Value appreciation: 298%

Annualized appreciation: 10.3%

How he made his millions: Castellini, 78, inherited his family’s fruit and vegetable wholesale company that was founded by his grandfather, Joseph John Castellini, one of the earliest players in the produce industry in the 1890s.

Fast facts: A former minority owner of the Rangers and Orioles, Castellini said at an introductory news conference in 2006 that he was “buying the Reds to win. Anything else is unacceptable.” The Reds won division titles in 2010 and 2012 but have finished fourth or fifth in the NL Central in each of the last six seasons.

21

Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies co-owner Dick Monfort.
Colorado Rockies co-owner Richard L. Monfort.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Owner/chairman and CEO: Richard L. Monfort

Net worth: $700 million (estimate)

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Purchase price: $190 million (1993 expansion fee)

Current franchise valuation: $1.275 billion

Value appreciation: 671%

Annualized appreciation: 7.3%

How he made his millions: Monfort, 66, is the son of Kenneth Monfort, who owned a meatpacking and distributing company that was sold to ConAgra Foods for $365.5 million in 1987. Richard worked for his father as a cattle buyer from 1974-84 and was an executive vice president of the company from 1984-87 before becoming president of ConAgra Red Meats.

Fast facts: Monfort and his younger brother, Charles, were part of the Rockies’ original ownership group in 1993. They took over as primary owners in 2005 when they purchased Jerry McMorris’ financial interest in the club.

22

Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers owner Mark Walter speaks at a gala.
Dodgers chairman Mark Walter.
(Emma McIntyre / Getty Images)

Chairman: Mark Walter

Net worth: $3.4 billion

Purchase price: $2.15 billion (2012)

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Team valued at: $3.4 billion

Value appreciation: 58%

Annualized appreciation: 5.9%

How he made his billions: Walter, 60, is the CEO of Guggenheim Partners, a privately held global financial services firm with more than $290 billion in assets under management that paid a record price to purchase the Dodgers from Frank McCourt.

Fast facts: Guggenheim agreed to a record 25-year, $8.35-billion TV deal with Time Warner Cable in 2013, but because DirecTV and other local providers refused to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodgers, winners of seven straight division titles, reached less than half of the Southern California market. A seven-year stalemate ended April 1 when Spectrum agreed to carry SportsNet LA on AT&T video platforms, just in time for a 2020 season that has been delayed by the coronavirus.

23

Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins majority owner Bruce Sherman watches during spring training baseball practice.
Miami Marlins principal owner Bruce Sherman.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

Chairman and principal owner: Bruce Sherman

Net worth: $500 million

Purchase price: $1.2 billion (2017)

Current franchise valuation: $980 million

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Value appreciation: -18.3%

Annualized appreciation: -6.5%

How he made his millions: Sherman, 72, co-founded the wealth-management firm Private Capital Management (PCM) in 1985. The firm grew to $4.4 billion in assets under management in 1999 and was sold to Legg Mason for $1.4 billion in 2001. Sherman remained at the helm of the firm, whose assets grew to around $30 billion by 2005 before losing $2.4 billion in the 2008 financial collapse.

Fast facts: Sherman helped finance Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter’s purchase of the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria. While Sherman is the controlling owner of the team, Jeter, the club’s CEO, runs day-to-day operation of the Marlins, who have not had a winning season since 2009 and have finished last in the NL East in five of the last 10 years.

24

Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio walks off the field.
Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio.
(Aaron Gash / Associated Press)

Chairman and principal owner: Mark Attanasio

Net worth: $700 million

Purchase price: $223 million (2005)

Current franchise valuation: $1.2 billion

Value appreciation: 438%

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Annualized appreciation: 11.9%

How he made his millions: In 1991 Attanasio, 62, co-founded the Los Angeles investment firm Crescent Capital Group, which now controls more than $26 billion in assets.

Fast facts: The small-market Brewers, according to Attanasio, operated at a financial loss in 2019, but that didn’t prevent them from signing outfielder Christian Yelich, the 2018 NL most valuable player and 2019 MVP runner-up, to a seven-year, $188.5-million extension in March. The team also signed pricey free agents such as Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Yasmani Grandal in recent years.

25

New York Mets

New York Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon.
New York Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon.
(John Raoux / Associated Press)

Chairman and CEO: Fred Wilpon

Net worth: $500 million

Purchase price: $391 million (2002)

Current franchise valuation: $2.4 billion

Value appreciation: 514%

Annualized appreciation: 10.6%

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How he made his millions: Wilpon, 83, and his brother-in-law, Saul Katz, founded Sterling Equities, a real estate development company that focused on acquiring properties at the bottom of the market and turning them for a profit, in the 1970s.

Fast facts: Wilpon invested heavily with the New York financier Bernie Madoff, but when Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme collapsed in 2008, victims sued Wilpon and other Mets owners for knowingly supporting the fraud. The sides eventually agreed on a settlement of $162 million. Wilpon and his son, Jeff Wilpon, are trying to sell the Mets after a potential $2.6-billion deal with hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen fell through last winter.

26

Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies managing partner John Middleton.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Managing partner: John Middleton

Net worth: $3.3 billion

Purchase price: $30 million (1981)

Current franchise valuation: $2 billion

Value appreciation: 6,567%

Annualized appreciation: 11.3%

How he made his billions: In 1856 Middleton’s great-great grandfather founded a small retail tobacco operation that more than a century later would launch the Black & Mild cigar brand. In 2007, Middleton sold the company to Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, for $2.9 billion in cash.

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Fast facts: Middleton, who replaced David Montgomery as the team’s controlling owner in 2016, wasn’t kidding when, two years later, he said that the Phillies would spend money, “and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it.” The following March, Philadelphia signed free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330-million deal.

27

Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates chairman of the board Bob Nutting
Pittsburgh Pirates chairman of the board Bob Nutting
(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Chairman of the board: Bob Nutting

Net worth: $1.1 billion

Purchase price: $92 million (1996)

Current franchise valuation: $1.26 billion

Value appreciation: 1,270%

Annualized appreciation: 11.5%

How he made his billions: Nutting, 58, is the president and CEO of Ogden Newspapers, a publisher of more than 40 newspapers and media outlets — most of them in small markets — that was started by his great-grandfather, H.C. Ogden, in 1890. He also is the chairman of Nutting Co., a holding company that operates three ski resorts outside of Pittsburgh.

Fast facts: Nutting, nicknamed “Bottom-Line Bob,” has been heavily criticized — and rightfully so — for putting profits over performance. The Pirates have consistently been in the bottom third of MLB teams in payroll, and the team, despite playing in one of baseball’s most picturesque stadiums, has had only four winning seasons and three playoff appearances since 1993.

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28

St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals chairman and CEO William DeWitt Jr.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

Chairman and CEO: William O. DeWitt Jr.

Net worth: $4 billion

Purchase price: $150 million (1995)

Current franchise valuation: $2.2 billion

Value appreciation: 1,367%

Annualized appreciation: 11.3%

How he made his billions: DeWitt, 78, is a founder of the investment firm Reynolds, DeWitt & Co., which owns 63 Arby’s franchises and whose value has been estimated at $50.4 billion; and the U.S. Playing Card Company, which has an estimated value of $120 million.

Fast fact: DeWitt, previously a minority owner of the Orioles and Rangers, is the son of longtime MLB executive Bill DeWitt, who owned the St. Louis Browns and Cincinnati Reds. As a youngster, DeWitt Jr. served as a Browns batboy, and on Aug. 19, 1951, his jersey was worn by 3-foot-7 pinch-hitter Eddie Gaedel, a publicity stunt arranged by owner Bill Veeck.

29

San Diego Padres

Ron Fowler, executive chairman of the ownership group of the San Diego Padres.
San Diego Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

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Executive chairman: Ron Fowler

Net worth: $500 million

Purchase price: $800 million (2012)

Current franchise valuation: $1.45 billion

Value appreciation: 81%

Annualized appreciation: 7.7%

How he made his millions: Fowler, 76, joined the brewing industry after college and eventually bought out a company he worked for, expanded it and started his own company, Liquid Investments, which distributes Miller, Coors, Heineken and other beer brands and has annual sales of more than $220 million.

Fast facts: Fowler’s ownership group includes Peter Seidler, the nephew of former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley who is the founder and managing partner of Seidler Equity Partners, a private equity investment firm with more than $2 billion in assets under management.

30

San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants owner Charles Johnson.
(Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

Owner: Charles Johnson

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Net worth: $4.4 billion

Purchase price: $100 million (1993)

Current franchise valuation: $3.1 billion

Value appreciation: 3,000%

Annualized appreciation: 13.6%

How he made his billions: Johnson, 87, was 24 when he became CEO of Franklin Templeton Investments, a company that his father, Rupert Johnson, founded in 1947. The San Mateo-based company, which controls mutual fund purveyor Franklin Templeton, grew from $2.5 million in managed assets in 1957 to $800 billion when Charles Johnson retired in 2013.

Fast facts: Johnson, a Yale graduate, is one of the largest donors to Republican and Tea-Party backed political campaigns, and in 2018, he and his wife, Ann, were criticized for donating $16,2000 to the U.S. Senate campaign of Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith, who made controversial comments to a local rancher about a “public hanging.” Johnson relinquished control of the team in 2019 to his son, Greg Johnson, 58,

31

Washington Nationals

Theodore N. "Ted" Lerner, right, Managing Principal Owner of the Washington Nationals.
Washington Nationals principal owner Ted Lerner.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

Managing principal owner: Lerner family

Net worth: $4.5 billion

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Purchase price: $450 million (2006)

Current franchise valuation: $1.9 billion

Value Appreciation: 322%

Annualized appreciation: 10.8%

How he made his billions: Ted Lerner, 94, turned a $250 loan from his wife, Annette, in the 1950s into a real estate empire, founding Lerner Enterprises, currently the largest landowner in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The Lerner family is also a partner in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, the 2019 WNBA champion Washington Mystics and the NBA’s Washington Wizards and Capital One Arena.

Fast facts: Lerner retired as managing principal owner in 2018, ceding control of the team to his son, Mark D. Lerner, 66. After suffering several heartbreaking postseason losses over the past decade, the Nationals won a thrilling seven-game World Series over the Houston Astros last October, the first title in franchise history and first for a Washington-based team since the Senators won the World Series in 1924.

Note: Team values are based on Forbes 2020 list. Net worth for individual owners were culled from from Forbes, moneyinc.com, Celebrity Net Worth, Bloomberg and Canadian Business.