In Major League Baseball, teams compete for the Commissioner’s Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the World Series each fall. For the wealthiest people in the world, however, the ultimate trophy is the team itself. That’s why they are willing to pay big money to join the exclusive club in the rare instance that a team comes up for sale.
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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 group, only 22 of the 30 MLB franchises could be listed because the other eight are either owned by corporations — or by people whose net worths aren’t public knowledge.
Bob Castellini, Cincinnati Reds: $400 Million
- Owner since: 2006
- How much he purchased the team for: $270 million
- How much the team is worth: $1.19 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: $1.58 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 A self-made man, Ron Fowler originally made his money in brewing, an industry he joined right after working his way through college.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 approximately $38 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.
Ken Kendrick, Arizona Diamondbacks: $1 Billion
- Owner since: 2004
- How much they purchased the team for: $238 million
- How much the team is worth: $1.38 billion
Part of the original ownership group of the Diamondbacks, Ken Kendrick became the managing general partner in 2004. After graduating from West Virginia University in 1965, Kendrick took a job with IBM and founded his own company three years later. That enterprise, Datatel, Inc., grew to become the leading provider of IT software for higher education before it and a sister company were sold in 2015 for $3.5 billion. He also is the principal investor in the $9 billion Woodforest National Bank in Texas. A collector of significant sports memorabilia, Kendrick and several partners own a company that authenticates and grades coins and other collectibles. He has a net worth of $1 billion, according to Forbes.
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: $1.7 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 Equity Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in early-stage wireless investments. Larson is a retired Microsoft executive.
Jim Crane, Houston Astros: $1.4 Billion
- Owner since: 2011
- How much he purchased the team for: $465 million
- How much the team is worth: $1.98 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 and later sold it for a $300 million profit, Forbes reported. He also is chairman of Crane Worldwide Logistics. According to Forbes, Jim Crane is worth $1.4 billion.
Jerry Reisendorf, Chicago White Sox: $1.8 Billion
- Owner since: 1981
- How much he purchased the team for: $20 million
- How much the team is worth: $1.76 billion
Jerry Reisendorf is worth an estimated $1.8 billion, according to Forbes. 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, which is won six NBA championships with Jordan, and became one of basketball’s most iconic brands.
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.
Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, Texas Rangers: $2.5 Billion
- Owner since: 2010
- How much they purchased the team for: $593 million
- How much the team is worth: $2.05 billion
Reliable net worth information on Bob Simpson is unavailable, but Ray Davis’ fortune is estimated to be $2.5 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.
John Fisher, Oakland Athletics : $2.5 Billion
- Owner since: 2005
- How much he purchased the team for: $180 million
- How much the team is worth: $1.18 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 $2.5 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: $2.3 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: $3.6 Billion
- Owner since: 2003
- How much he purchased the team for: $183.5 million
- How much the team is worth: $2.2 billion
With an estimated net worth of $3.6 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, Boston Red Sox: $3.5 Billion
- Owner since: 2002
- How much they purchased the team for: $380 million
- How much the team is worth: $3.9 billion
John Henry has an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion, Forbes reported.
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. His Fenway Sports Group owns the major stake in NESN – the New England Sports Network – and in Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR circuit. He also owns a stake in Liverpool, a Premier League soccer team.
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: $6 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 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.
He made the best investment in baseball, buying the team for $8.8 million, which translates to about $58 million today. The sports world’s first family also has its hands in a massive stadium/event concession business that by itself is worth $800 million.
Ilitch Family, Detroit Tigers: $4.4 Billion
- Owner since: 1992
- How much they purchased the team for: $82 million
- How much the team is worth: $1.4 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 about $4 billion in annual sales. While the Tigers are in a family trust, her empire includes also includes the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. Her net worth is estimated at $4.4 billion.
Ricketts Family, Chicago Cubs: $4.4 Billion
- Owner since: 2009
- How much they purchased the team: $700 million
- How much the team is worth: $3.8 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 $4.4 billion.
Lerner Family, Washington Nationals: $4.5 Billion
- Owner since: 2006
- How much they purchased the team for: $450 million
- How much the team is worth: $2 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.
In April, Mark Lerner told The Washington Post that the owners could explore selling the team or bringing in additional investors. Forbes pegs the family’s net worth at $4.5 billion.
Charles Johnson, San Francisco Giants: $5.1 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 $5.1 billion.
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: $1.3 billion
Lawrence Dolan and family trusts bought the Cleveland franchise in 2000 for what then was a record-setting price of $323 million. He made his money through his ownership of stock in Cablevision, which was owned by his brother, Charles Dolan. In 2013, MLB owners approved the naming of Paul Dolan, Lawrence’s son, as the primary control person of the team. Paul was a partner in an Ohio-based law firm before joining the team as vice president and general counsel in 2000, eventually promoted to the club president.
Liberty Media and John Malone, Atlanta Braves: $7.5 Billion
- Owner since: 2007
- How much he purchased the team for: $400 million
- How much the team is worth: $2.1 billion
John Malone’s first job out of college was at Bell Telephone Laboratories, and he parlayed that early experience into a successful career in the cable industry. At age 29 in 1973, he became the CEO of cable company TCI, which AT&T acquired for more than $50 billion in 1999, Forbes reported. His net worth is $7.5 billion. He is chairman of the board of Liberty Media, which also bought the Formula 1 race circuit for $4.4 billion in 2017.
Steve Cohen, New York Mets: $17.4 Billion
- Owner since: 2020
- Purchase price of team: $2.4 billion
- How much the team is worth: $2.65 billion
Hedge fund founder Steve Cohen paid $2.4 billion to buy the Mets in October 2020, the record sales price for an MLB franchise. He runs Point72 Asset Management, a hedge fund with assets of $16 billion. He earlier ran the successful SAC Capital Advisors, but he was forced to close it after the firm entered a guilty plea to insider trading charges and paid $1.8 billion in fines and penalties. Forbes puts his net worth at $17.4 billion.
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Jami Farkas contributed to this article.
Methodology: For this piece, GOBankingRates used Forbes “The Business Of Baseball” 2022 data to find every MLB team’s (1) owner name; (2) when the owner bought the team; (3) price the owner paid for the team; and (4) the team value in 2022. With these figures, GOBankingRates used Forbes Real Time Billionaire list and CelebrityNetWorth.com to find each owner’s (5) net worth as of April 20, 2022. All data was collected and is up to date as of April 20, 2022.