Greediest owners in sports
Page 2 staff

Here's a list we believe you'll have some fun with: Page 2's top 10 greediest owners in sports.

Carl Pohlad
The Twins win despite Carl Pohlad.
After taking a look at our list, check out our readers' choices for the greediest owner in sports. And be sure to vote in the poll to crown the No. 1 greedy owner in sports.

1. Carl Pohlad (Minnesota Twins)
Make no mistake -- the Twins are winning these days despite Pohlad, not because of him. Ever since the Twins won the 1991 World Series, it's been downhill, largely because Pohlad, who has an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion, has kept his wallet clamped shut. When the Minneapolis City Pages asked readers to send in epitaphs for the aging owner's stone, one fan suggested, "In memory of the man who gave us Kirby Puckett, (and who took a treasured team and did his best to (ruin) it."

2. Art Modell (Baltimore Ravens)
When the dedicated Cleveland fans said "no" to the wealthy Modell's demand for cash, he up and moved the team to Baltimore. The Ravens, of course, won the Super Bowl two seasons back, but still a bad taste lingered. "Modell winning a Super Bowl is like Spiro Agnew getting elected vice president," wrote Tom Scocca in the Baltimore City Paper, "proof that even the lowest and sleaziest crook can rise high if he claws his way upward eagerly enough."

William Wirtz
William Wirtz pinches pennies while the Blackhawks suffer.
3. Bill Wirtz (Chicago Blackhawks)
The Blackhawks have been in the Wirtz family for almost 50 years, and what do beleaguered Chicago hockey fans have to show for it? High ticket prices, TV blackouts of home games, no Stanley Cup in 41 years, and little hope. "The team has been futile throughout his ownership," says Mark Weinberg, author of "Career Misconduct: The Story of Bill Wirtz's Greed, Corruption, and the Betrayal of Blackhawks' Fans." "This, in the city that has the absolute best and most loyal fans, and from a guy who has more money than Rockefeller. Of course, it makes sense if you know he's only interested in the bottom line."

4. Donald Sterling (L.A. Clippers)
Sure, the Clippers are on the upswing, but there's no real evidence that the owner of the longtime joke of the NBA has changed his miserly ways. How cheap is he? During his first season as owner, in an attempt to cut the trainer's position, he asked coach Paul Silas if he'd tape his players' ankles. Sterling says he's willing to pay big bucks to retain Michael Olowokandi, Elton Brand and Lamar Odom, and he says he wants a winner. But long-suffering Clippers fans have been scorched by a few decades of bad memories. For the man L.A. Times writer T.J. Simers calls "Donald T. Cheapskate," it's time to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. But even if he does, it still begs the question -- what took so long?

Bud Selig
No owners list would be complete without Bud Selig.
5. Bud Selig (Milwaukee Brewers)
The Commish has a team that's one of the worst in baseball, and the beautiful new ballpark he conned out of the good people of Milwaukee may be lining his pockets -- but then again, maybe not. Attendance is way down from 2001. As Bud gets rich (and richer still, if and when he sells the club, if and when he succeeds in pushing a comprehensive revenue-sharing proposal past the players union), the fans and taxpayers get ripped off. Selig says he cares about baseball, but he doesn't seem to care about trying to win.

6. David Glass (Kansas City Royals)
Glass, being the former Wal-Mart CEO, knows all about keeping costs low while still making a profit, and it sure doesn't mean putting the best products on the shelf. The Royals have been bad for a long time, but when Glass bought the team in 2000, there seemed to be hope. Glass, though, has been trading his best players or letting them walk as they reach free-agency while he waits for $150 million of taxpayer dollars to upgrade Kauffman Stadium, revenue sharing and a salary cap, all the while crying the small-market blues.

7. Jeremy Jacobs (Boston Bruins)
Living proof that one man can do great harm to a city's rich hockey history. Jacobs, who bought the Bruins for $10 million in 1975, now sits on one of the most valuable franchises in hockey (valued at $230 million by Forbes). But he runs a franchise in one of the biggest markets in the country on a shoestring, with a payroll dwarfed by teams in smaller markets such as Phoenix, St. Louis and Buffalo. Case in point: The Bruins just relinquished -- without a fight -- free agent Bill Guerin to the Dallas Stars. "You know what got me out of Boston?" Guerin told the Boston Herald. "The fact they didn't talk. That's it. Everyone knows from Day 1 they weren't going to pay."

8. Michael Brown (Cincinnati Bengals)
The NFL's losingest team during the 1990s continues to be awful in the new millennium, having avoided the playoffs for 11 straight seasons. But, according to Forbes magazine, the franchise is now the 12th most valuable in the NFL, worth a hefty $479 million. The new taxpayer-built stadium doesn't hurt. Is Brown greedy, or just incompetent? Either way, he's rich, and his Bengals are poor.

Jeffrey Loria
Jeffrey Loria leaves a trail of mismanaged franchises in his wake.
9. Jeffrey Loria (Florida Marlins)
The whole Expos-Marlins-Red Sox ownership deal looked awfully fishy. Loria failed to build a decent franchise in Montreal, so MLB bought the Expos, which Selig said were no longer worthy of existence, and then let their owner, Loria, buy another franchise. Meanwhile, Marlins owner John Henry takes his $150 million-plus chunk of change to buy a piece of the Red Sox. Is Loria interested in good teams, or just a good shell game?

10. Daniel Snyder (Washington Redskins)
We can't say Snyder's a complete tightwad. After all, he spent about $800 million to buy the Redskins, and he's ponied up big bucks for some free-agent losers. But what can you say about a guy who, in one of his first moves as owner, started charging fans $10 to watch the team's summer practices? One thing: that he's a greedhead.

Also receiving votes:

  • Major League Baseball (Montreal Expos)
  • Jerry Reinsdorf (Chicago Bulls)
  • Al Davis (California Raiders)
  • The Chicago Tribune Company (Chicago Cubs)
  • Michael Heisley (Memphis Grizzlies)
  • Bill Bidwill (Arizona Cardinals)
  • Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys)


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