In the MLB, baseball teams compete for the Commissioner’s Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the World Series. For the wealthiest people in the world, however, the ultimate trophy is a team itself. Though the coronavirus pandemic delayed and shortened the current MLB season — and a flurry of COVID-19 outbreaks among players now has insiders speculating about a total shutdown — these teams are still worth a fortune. As are their owners.
Here’s a look at the richest owners in baseball and how they got enough money to actually buy a team. In rounding up the richest owners in the league, only 20 of the 30 MLB franchises could be listed because 10 are either owned by corporations — or by people whose net worths aren’t public knowledge.
Last updated: Aug. 10, 2020
Bob Castellini, Cincinnati Reds: $400 Million
Owner since: 2006
How much he purchased the team for: $270 million
How much the team is worth: $1.08 billion
In 1896, Joseph John Castellini founded the Castellini Company, one of the earliest players in the produce industry. His grandson Bob Castellini inherited the business, which is now in its fourth generation. Bob Castellini handed it off to his son, Robert, before buying a majority stake in the Reds, a move that also netted him a lot of money. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Bob Castellini is worth $400 million.
Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler, San Diego Padres: $500 Million
Owner since: 2012
How much they purchased the team for: $600 million
How much the team is worth: $1.45 billion
No net worth information is available for Peter Seidler, but according to Celebrity Net Worth, Ron Fowler is worth $500 million. A self-made man, Ron Fowler originally made his money in brewing, an industry he joined right after working his way through college. He eventually bought out a company he worked for, expanded it, and then opened his own business, Liquid Investments. He’s still the chairman and CEO of Liquid Investments, which now controls several subsidiary distributors and other businesses.
Mark Attanasio, Milwaukee Brewers: $700 Million
Owner since: 2005
How much he purchased the team for: $223 million
How much the team is worth: $1.20 billion
Mark Attanasio is the principal owner of the Brewers, but he made his money in, well, the money business. In 1991, he co-founded Crescent Capital Group, which now controls more than $26 billion in assets. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Mark Attanasio is worth $700 million.
Stuart Sternberg, Tampa Bay Rays: $800 Million
Owner since: 2004
How much he purchased the team for: $200 million
How much the team is worth: $1.05 billion
Stuart Sternberg has a net worth of $800 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He made his fortune on Wall Street, working his way up in a major investment group that hired him right out of college until he became a partner. Eventually, he moved to Goldman Sachs, where he retired as a partner.
John Stanton and Chris Larson, Seattle Mariners: $1.1 Billion
Owner since: 2016 (Stanton), 1992 (Larson)
How much they purchased the team for: $1.2 billion (Stanton), $100 million (Larson)
How much the team is worth: $1.60 billion
John Stanton is worth $1.1 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth, but Chris Larson’s net worth is unknown. Stanton made his money in the wireless industry, serving at the helm of four top wireless companies in the 1980s and operating several of his own networks overseas. He’s now the chairman of Trilogy Partnerships, a private equity firm that specializes in early-stage wireless investments.
Jerry Reisendorf, Chicago White Sox: $1.5 Billion
Owner since: 1981
How much he purchased the team for: $20 million
How much the team is worth: $1.65 billion
Jerry Reisendorf is worth an estimated $1.5 billion. He made his fortune in real estate after co-founding Balcor Company in 1973 and then sold it to American Express nine years later. Then in the ’80s, he made a second fortune when he and his investment partners bought into Chicago sports teams that were destined for greatness, including the Chicago Bulls one year after the team drafted Michael Jordan. He still owns 40% of the $2.5 billion team.
Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, Texas Rangers: $1.9 Billion
Owner since: 2010
How much they purchased the team for: $593 million
How much the team is worth: $1.75 billion
Reliable net worth information on Bob Simpson is unavailable, but Ray Davis’ fortune is estimated to be $1.9 billion. Davis got rich in the energy industry after founding pipeline company and natural gas distributor Energy Transfer in 1995. In 2017, his company finished work on the controversial 1,172-mile, $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline.
Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles: $2 Billion
Owner since: 1993
How much he purchased the team for: $173 million
How much the team is worth: $1.40 billion
Peter Angelos is a lawyer who rose to prominence as the lead attorney in Maryland’s litigation war on the tobacco industry. He won billions of dollars in judgments against Big Tobacco, much of which he collected in fees. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Angelos is worth $2 billion.
Ricketts Family, Chicago Cubs: $2.1 Billion
Owner since: 2009
How much they purchased the team for: $700 million
How much the team is worth: $3.20 billion
Joe Ricketts was an early online stock-trading pioneer and the founder of the brokerage firm Ameritrade, which went public in 1997. In 2006, his company paid $2.9 billion for TD Waterhouse and later became TD Ameritrade. His four children are the majority owners of the Cubs and the family is worth $2.1 billion.
John Fisher, Oakland Athletics : $2.4 Billion
Owner since: 2005
How much he purchased the team for: $180 million
How much the team is worth: $1.10 billion
John Fisher’s parents, Donald and Doris Fisher, founded the retail clothing giant Gap, whose board of directors he sits on today. Fisher also co-founded an investment firm called Sansome Partners. Aside from the A’s, he also holds smaller shares in two soccer teams. His net worth is $2.4 billion.
Jim Crane, Houston Astros: $2.5 Billion
Owner since: 2011
How much he purchased the team for: $465 million
How much the team is worth: $1.85 billion
If you Google “Jim Crane” today, you’ll find that his name is synonymous with the Astros’ now-infamous sign-stealing scandal, but before he owned a ball club, he was a successful businessman. He’s now the CEO and chairman of Crane Capital Group, an investment management company, but he originally got rich in the transportation/distribution business when he founded Eagle Global Logistics in 1984. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Jim Crane is worth $2.5 billion.
John Middleton and the Buck Family, Philadelphia Phillies: $3.4 Billion
Owner since: 1981
How much they purchased the team for: $30 million
How much the team is worth: $2 billion
Reliable financial information on the Buck family is unavailable, but John Middleton has a net worth of $3.4 billion. In 1856, his great-great-grandfather founded a small retail tobacco operation called John Middleton Inc., which would go on to create the Black & Mild cigar brand in 1980. In 2007, John Middleton sold the company to Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, for $2.9 billion in cash.
Arturo Moreno, Los Angeles Angels: $3.4 Billion
Owner since: 2003
How much he purchased the team for: $183.5 million
How much the team is worth: $1.98 billion
With an estimated net worth of $3.4 billion, Vietnam veteran Arturo Moreno spends much of his fortune on philanthropy. Although most of that fortune is now tied up in the Angels, he made his early money through billboard advertising. In 1999, he sold his company, Outdoor Systems, to Infinity Broadcasting for $8.7 billion.
John Henry and Thomas Werner, Boston Red Sox: $3.5 Billion
Owner since: 2002
How much they purchased the team for: $380 million
How much the team is worth: $3.30 billion
John Henry has an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion and, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Thomas Werner is worth $700 million for a combined total of $3.5 billion.
Werner made his money as a successful television executive and producer, most notably for “The Cosby Show,” “Roseanne” and “3rd Rock from the Sun.” For Henry, the Sox are just one part of a sprawling sports empire, which he built after amassing a fortune in the early 1980s thanks to his trading firm J.W. Henry & Co.
Related: The 25 Richest NFL Team Owners
Charles Johnson, San Francisco Giants: $3.5 Billion
Owner since: 1993
How much they purchased the team for: $100 million
How much the team is worth: $3.10 billion
In 1947, Rupert Johnson Sr. founded Franklin Templeton Investments, also called Franklin Resources. A decade later, his son, then-24-year-old Charles Johnson, became the company’s CEO. He grew the company from $2.5 million in managed assets in 1957 to $800 billion when he retired in 2013. His net worth is estimated at $3.5 billion.
James Pohlad, Minnesota Twins: $3.8 Billion
Owner since: 1984
How much he purchased the team for: $44 million
How much the team is worth: $1.30 billion
Although James Pohlad’s individual net worth is unknown, Forbes estimated the Pohlad’s family fortune to be worth $3.8 billion in 2015, the last year a wealth evaluation was done. He’s one of three brothers, and the siblings inherited Pohlad Companies — which is made up of more than 30 Minneapolis-based businesses — from their late father Carl Pohlad, a self-made billionaire.
Steinbrenner Family, New York Yankees: $3.8 Billion
Owner since: 1973
How much they purchased the team for: $8.8 million
How much the team is worth: $5 billion
No family has earned more money in sports than the Steinbrenner clan, whose late patriarch George Steinbrenner built the New York Yankees into the most valuable team in baseball for more than two decades running. The sports world’s first family also has its hands in a massive stadium/event concession business that by itself is worth $800 million. In 2015, the most recent evaluation, Forbes estimated the Steinbrenner family to be worth $3.8 billion.
Ilitch Family, Detroit Tigers: $4 Billion
Owner since: 1992
How much they purchased the team for: $82 million
How much the team is worth: $1.25 billion
Mike and Marian Ilitch founded Little Caesar’s Pizza in 1959. Although Mike passed away in 2017, family matriarch Marian Ilitch still owns the chain, which does more than $4 billion in annual sales. Her empire includes not only the Tigers but also the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. Her net worth is estimated at $4 billion.
Lerner Family, Washington Nationals: $4.8 Billion
Owner since: 2006
How much they purchased the team for: $450 million
How much the team is worth: $1.90 billion
Ted Lerner turned a $250 loan he took out in 1952 into a real estate empire. Today, Lerner Enterprises claims one of the biggest real estate holdings in all of Washington, D.C. In 2018, Ted Lerner, who has a net worth of $4.8 billion, transferred control of the Nationals to his son Mark.
Lawrence and Paul Dolan, Cleveland Indians: $5.5 Billion
Owner since: 2000
How much they purchased the team for: $323 million
How much the team is worth: $1.15 billion
The Dolan family is worth a combined $5.5 billion as 0f 2015. Family patriarch Charles Dolan was a cable pioneer who launched Cablevision in 1973. In 2016, he sold it for $17.7 billion. He, his wife and their six children own not just the Indians, but also the Madison Square Garden Company and a controlling stake in AMC.
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All net worth estimates came from 2020 real-time data from Forbes on Aug. 3, 2020, except where otherwise noted.