Some of the Worst Ownership Situations in Baseball, Ever

Major League sports and their franchises make tons of money per year to entertain the masses. Athletes get paid big bucks to put on the team’s uniform and try their best to win for the city and team they represent.

All major league teams have an owner, or owners depending on the situation. Some can be fantastic owners who care about the team the fans the city and about creating a winning culture. Some on the other hand only want to make money and will try very hard to spend almost nothing on their team and still charge a fortune for the fans to come and see. Yes, in the world of Major League sports if you are an owner, you are there to make a profit.  That said, some of these owners are just horrible for the sport in general. Major League Baseball has had some of the worst owners in all of sports, and I thought we should take time to reminisce the worst of the worst.

Let’s start off with the Kansas City Royals and their owner David Glass. Glass who became the interim CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Royals in 1993 when Ewing Kauffman, the founder of the team, passed away. During the 1994 strike, he was known to oppose anything that the union offered without a salary cap and supported bringing in replacement players. In 2000, Glass became the sole owner of the team.  Under Glass’ leadership he managed to cut the team’s payroll from 35.6 million in 1997 to just 16 million dollars in 1998. The team has consistently been in the bottom third of MLB Payrolls since. While under his ownership the team has yet to make the playoffs and only had one winning season in 2003 (good enough for third place) since he took the job.  Many articles and reports involving Glass have stated that he used the same cost-cutting techniques he did with Wal-Mart when he was in charge of them. He is also known as the man that made the Royals go from 1980’s powerhouse to one of the worst Major League Baseball teams in the 90’s and 2000’s, a label that does not seem to be ending anytime soon.

Peter Angelos of the Baltimore Orioles has had a unique time owning the team. Some people look at him as a good owner, but many thought he was one of the worst. Under his ownership, since 1993 the O’s have made the playoffs three times with two wildcard berths in 1996 and 2012 and a Division title in 1997. Until the 2012 playoff run, the O’s had not made the playoffs since 1997 and the team had hit a real decline. Many people in the baseball world believed that Angelos has an awful reputation of meddling with the team and being a complete control freak. He fired his manager, Davey Johnson, who was the manager that lead the team to the playoffs in 96-97 after having a disagreement.  He managed to let the great GM Pat Gillick go without an extension and helped sign one of the worst and largest contract at the time with Albert Belle. There is hope at the end of the tunnel for Angelos if he can get over the controlling aspect and resign the young budding stars in Baltimore.  If he does, people will be happy with his ownership again.  If he doesn’t, and he let’s guys like Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Jim Johnson go for nothing, Angelos might want to stay away from O’s fans.

Frank McCourt is a guy many people know – even a lot of non-baseball fans know this ex-owner of the LA Dodgers. McCourt bought the Dodgers in 2004 from NewsCorp owned by Rupert Murdoch. McCourt had some seasons where the Dodgers were successful, but controversy and scandal followed him, which lead to his fall as the team’s owner. First off, when he bought the Dodgers from NewsCorp, he took a loan from Fox News Corporation to help finance the team. McCourt used over 100 million dollars from revenue to fund both his and his wife’s personal lives and expenses. Then of course there was the well-documented divorce that over shadowed the 2009 playoff run by the Dodgers, which seemed to effect the team in the 2010 season. In 2011, MLB stepped in and took over the everyday operations of the team. On June 27 of that same year, the Dodgers filed for Bankruptcy, after a legal battle between McCourt and the MLB lawyers.  McCourt finally sold the team to a group of buyers that consisted former LA Laker Magic Johnson.

George Argyros is an owner that many people either didn’t know or chose to forget about.  The owner of the Seattle Mariners from 1981-1989, did not seem to care about his team at all and seemingly refused to invest any money into the M’s. He upset many Mariners fans with threats of relocating the team.  They never had a winning season under him; he got rid of many players including Danny Tartabull, Floyd Bannister, Ivan Calderon and Bill Caudill. He had a bad eye for talent well when it came to drafting, as he tried to get his own front office to draft Mike Harkey over, get this, Ken Griffey Jr. Finally he decided to sell the team in 1989, which was probably one of the only good moves he made seeing as he hated long-term deals and probably would have sold Ken Griffey Jr for Cracker Jacks.

Harry Frazee, the owner of the Boston Red Sox in 1916-1923, was known as the man who traded away Babe Ruth. He could have ultimately destroyed the Red Sox had he stayed any longer; the team won a World Series in 1916 and 1918, but that was because of the players that he inherited with the team when he bought it. He actually secured a $300 000 loan from the New York Yankees that he used to mortgage Fenway Park as collateral, which basically made the Yankees the owner of the baseball park.  It’s a fact that makes many Red Sox fans feel sick to their stomach when they think or read about it. Frazee would have a lasting effect as the Red Sox would not have a winning season from 1919-1933. The New York Yankees would win four World Series titles in that same span of time.

Last but not least, the cream of the crude, Jeffrey Loria.  Loria is the former owner of the Montreal Expos and current owner of the Miami Marlins. Where do I begin here.  Well he helped to destroy the Expos, so that is on his resume. Long story short, with Montreal he bought the team and tried for a bit to make it a winner, or at least viable in the city.  When he couldn’t secure a deal with the city to make a new stadium he ran to Florida and bought that team in 2001, leaving Montreal with literally nothing.  As you know the team was forced to leave, landing in Washington. In Florida, after winning the 2003 World Series he let go of top players like Josh Becket, A.J. Burnett, Dan Uggla, Mike Lowell, Miguel Cabrera to shed room for his payroll. Do not forget he just did the same thing with trading away Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays. Aside from selling away the team’s top players every couple of years, he also lied about his teams profits, claiming he could not afford to pay for a new stadium. Reports showed that he had more than enough money and profit to fund his portion of the new ballpark instead of forcing the public to fund $400 million for the new park. This guy should not be an owner and should not have been allowed to pull any of his stunts. When Bud Selig retires in a few years, for me his legacy will be the guy responsible for destroying the Expos.

So there you have it, some of the worst owners imaginable in Major League Baseball. Of course these guys are not the only bad ones, I just picked a few of the worst ones that many people talk about. Here are some more past and present owners who make my dishonorable mention list.

Dishonorable mention: Gerry Nugent (Phillies) Bob Short (Senators/Rangers) Tribune Company (Cubs) Marge Schott (Reds) Calvin Griffith (Twins) Carl Pohlad (Twins) Lew Wolff (Athletics) Tom Werner (Padres) CBS (Yankees) Fred Wilpon and Family (Mets).

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