You have probably wondered at least once in your life what you would buy if money were no object. For most people, things like a large house, a luxurious sports car, exotic holidays, and a designer wardrobe would possibly come fairly high on the list. For those with serious cash in the bank, they probably have all these things already and will most likely want to buy something even more extravagant. For many billionaires, the dream is to buy the sports team they have supported all their lives. There are many rich baseball fans who have bought their team as soon as they have had the opportunity to do so. Some rich people are not even fans of the game; they simply enjoy the prestige of owning a team. It takes a serious amount of money to buy a successful baseball team, but there are billionaires out there who have the means to do just that with plenty of change leftover from their purchase. Here are the 20 richest MLB team owners in the world.
20. Mark Attanasio – Milwaukee Brewers – $700 Million
Just making it into the top 20 richest MLB team owners is Mark Attanasio with a personal net worth of $700 million. He purchased the team in 2005 for $223 million. He bought the team from the family of Bud Selig, who was the Major League Baseball commissioner. This businessman was born in The Bronx, New York, on September 29, 1957. He began a career in finance in 1991 when he co-founded Crescent Capital Partners, a Dallas investment firm. In 1995, he sold this company to the Trust Company of the West. He joined the board of directors for Global Crossing, a telecommunication company, in 2001. He is currently a senior executive for two money management firms; Trust Company of the West and TCW/ Crescent Mezzanine. In addition to owning the Milwaukee Brewers, he also co-owns the Milwaukee Admirals.
19. Stuart Sternberg – Tampa Bay Rays- $800 Million
Stuart Sternberg is the owner of the Tampa Bay Rays and has a net worth of $800 million. This is little more than small change in comparison to some of the other MLB team owners. Born in New York in 1959, Stuart Sternberg was a successful Wall Street investor who began his career in the financial services industry in 1978. In the later years of his career, he was a partner in Spear, Leeds & Kellogg before moving to Goldman Sachs. He retired from the financial services industry in 2002. He formed the company Tampa Bay Devil Rays Ltd. And bought the Tampa Bay Rays for $130 million in 2005. In 2011, it was rumored that Stuart Sternberg was not happy with fan attendance at Tampa Bay Rays games and that he was considering buying the New York Mets. However, it seems that this rumor was unfounded as this purchase never took place. He lives in Rye, New York with his wife Lisa and four children; Sanford, Jack, Natalie, and Ella.
18. John W. Stanton- Seattle Mariners- $1.1 Billion
John W. Stanton is the owner of the Seattle Mariners and he bought this team for $106 million in 1992. In his career, he was the founder and former CEO of Western Wireless Corporation, the former chairman of the CTIA, and the former chairman and CEO of VoiceStream Wireless. It is estimated that he owns $45 million of stock holdings in General Communications Inc., Columbia Sportswear, and a range of other companies. Stanton has been on the board of directors of Microsoft since 2014. He is married to Theresa Gillespie and the couple lives in Bellevue, Washington, with their two sons. Stanton has an estimated personal net worth of $1.1 billion.
17. Robert Nutting – Pittsburgh Pirates- $1.1 Billion
Robert Nutting was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, on March 29, 1962. He is a businessman and the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He bought this team in 1996 for $92 million and he is the Chairman of the Board. Nutting is the sixth principal owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates in its history. He has been instrumental in rebuilding the team’s training complex and constructing the Pirates training academy in the Dominican Republic. Nutting is the chairman for Pirates Charities, which is the philanthropic affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. This supports community organizations and constructs softball and baseball fields for young people living in and around Pittsburgh. His other business ventures include owning the Seven Springs Mountain Resort and serving as the CEO of Ogden Newspapers. He has often been criticized by fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates for putting profits ahead of creating a competitive team. In his personal life, he is married to Leslie and the couple has three daughters together.
16. Jerry Reinsdorf- Chicago White Sox- $1.44 Billion
Jerry Reinsdorf is the owner of the Chicago White Sox. He bought this team in 1981 for $20 million. He is also the owner of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. Professionally, he is a CPA and lawyer who began his career in tax attorney at the Internal Revenue Service. He made most of his money through real estate and this has led to him now having a personal net worth of around $1.44 billion. Reinsdorf took advantage of the Frank Lyon Co. vs the United States case decision made by the United States Supreme Court. This allowed him and other realty owners to sell their property and lease it back, but to transfer the depreciation tax deduction to the title owner. In addition to owning the Chicago White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf has also owned the Chicago Bulls basketball team since 1985. He has caused controversy during his ownership of this team, especially for breaking up the championship team and not hiring back Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. Jerry Reinsdorf married Martyl F. Rifkin in 1956 and the couple has four children together; David Jason, Susan Janeen, Michael Andrew, and Jonathan Milton. Sadly, his oldest son has now died.
15. John J. Fisher- Oakland Athletics- $2 Billion
In addition to being the majority owner of Oakland Athletics, John J. Fisher also has stakes in Scotland’s Celtic F.C. and in Major League Soccer’s ‘San Jose Earthquakes. He is the son of Donald and Doris F. Fisher, who founded Gap Inc. He first worked in real estate for a company that collaborated with his parents’ businesses before becoming president of his parents’ investment company, Pisces Inc. He then jointly bought some hotels with Lewis Wolf and invested in the Oakland Athletics. He currently lives with his wife, Laura, in San Francisco.
14. Jim Crane- Houston Astros- $2 Billion
Jim Crane is the owner of the Houston Astros and he bought this team in 2011 for $615 million from Drayton McLane. This businessman is also the majority shareholder of Champion Energy, Crane Freight & Shipping, and Crane Worldwide Logistics. He is the chairman and CEO of the Crane Capital Group. He actually began his career in insurance before borrowing money from his sister to begin his business empire. He began by founding Eagle USA, an airfreight company, and then used the profits from this business to form the Crane Capital Group. Crane is a passionate scratch golfer and is ranked as one of the top CEO golfers in the United States. Crane often plays golf with former US President Barack Obama as he is a supporter of the Democratic Party. He has been married three times and has one son, James Robert Crane II, with his third wife.
13. Peter Angelos- Baltimore Orioles- $2.1 Billion
Peter Angelos was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 4, 1929. His parents were Greek immigrants who ran a bar. Angelos is a famous trial lawyer and attracted a lot of attention when he represented Maryland in a lawsuit against tobacco companies in 1996. There was controversy over what he would be paid for representing them and he struck a deal that involved them changing legislation to benefit his business. He was eventually paid $150 million for the case. He bought the Baltimore Orioles in 1993 for $173 million. He is now worth $2.1 billion.
12. Joe Ricketts- $2.1 Billion- Chicago Cubs
John Joseph ‘Joe’ Ricketts was born on July 16, 1941, in Nebraska City. He is a businessman and philanthropist who is the founder, former chairman, and former CEO of TD Ameritrade. Hi other former business ventures include High Plains Bison, The American Film Company, DNAinfo.com, and The Lodge at Jackson Fork. Ricketts acquired the controlling interest of the Chicago Cubs baseball team in 2009. He married Marlene Ricketts in 1963 and the couple has four children together; Pete, Tom, Laura, and Todd. The family now live in Bondurant, Wyoming.
11. Christopher Ilitch- Detroit Tigers- $2.4 Billion
Christopher Ilitch was born in Detroit, Michigan, in June 1965. He is the president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., while his mother is the owner of the company. This company includes Little Caesars Pizza, Olympia Entertainment, Champion Foods, Uptown Entertainment, Olympia Development, Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit Tigers. Christopher Ilitch is the youngest of seven children born to Mike and Marian Ilitch. Following his father’s death in 2017, Christopher Ilitch became the owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball team, which his father had bought for $82 million in 1992. He lives in metro Detroit with his wife, Kelle, with whom he has three children.
10. John W. Henry- Boston Red Sox- $2.5 Billion
John W. Henry is a businessman and investor who was born in Quincy, Illinois, on September 13, 1949. He founded the John W. Henry company, which is an investment management firm. He bought the Boston Red Sox for $660 million in 2002. He is also the principal owner of Liverpool Football Club and The Boston Globe. Furthermore, he is also the co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing. His personal net worth has increased and decreased many times over the last two decades and this reflects the highs and lows of his company. However, it is currently estimated that he has a personal net worth of $2.5 billion. He has been married three times and had one daughter with his second wife, Peggy, and a daughter and a son with his third wife, Linda, to whom he is still married.
9. Arturo Moreno- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- $2.5 Billion
Arturo Moreno is a businessman who was born in Tucson, Arizona, on August 14, 1946. He is a Mexican-American who is the oldest of eleven children. He began his career in advertising for a company called Eller Outdoor before joining Outdoor Systems. He took this company public and the stock soared. He decided to sell the business to Infinity Broadcasting in 1998 for $8 billion. This is the predominant reason why he has a personal net worth of $2,5 billion. In 2003, he bought the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who are also known as the Anaheim Angels, for $184 million. This made him the first Mexican-American in the United States to own a major sports team. Moreno has been married twice and has three children. He currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona.
8. Ray Davis- Texas Rangers- $2.7 Billion
Ray Davis has been a co-owner of the Texas Rangers since the team was purchased for $593 million in 2010. He is also the co-chairman of this team. He was part of a group that bought the team and this included Nolan Ryan, Bob R. Simpson, and Chuck Greenburg. Initially, Davis stayed mostly in the background. However, Greenberg left in 2011 and Ryan resigned in 2013. At this point, Ray Davis took over control of the team at the request of the Texas Rangers. Despite this, Davis and Simpson remain in the background most of the time and Jon Daniels is the operating head of the franchise. Until his retirement from business in 2007, he worked for most of his career in the energy industry. He was the chairman of Energy Transfer Equity and the chairman and co-chief executive officer for Energy Transfer Partners.
7. Mark Walter – Los Angeles Dodgers – $2.9 Billion
Mark Walter was born in Iowa in 1960. This businessman is the chief executive officer of Guggenheim Partners, which is a privately held global financial firm that Walter co-founded in 2000. It has headquarters in New York and Chicago. He formerly co-founded the Liberty Hampshire Company, LCC. He helped to form Guggenheim Baseball Management so that the group could acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 for $2.15 billion. He now co-owns the team with Stan Kasten, Todd Boehly, Peter Guber, Bobby Patton, and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. Mark Walter was names as the 8th most influential person in sports business by the Sports Business Journal in their annual list. In 2014, Walter and some of his business associates also bought the Los Angeles Sparks basketball team. In addition to his own businesses and his sports teams, Walter is involved in a range of other ventures. These include the Field Museum, the Northwestern University, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
6. Hal Steinbrenner- New York Yankees- $3.2 Billion
Hal Steinbrenner has a net worth of $1.1 billion and he is the co-owner and co-chairman of the New York Yankees. Unlike many of the other MLB team owners, Steinbreener did not actually buy this team. He and his brother Hank inherited the team from their father, George Steinbrenner, when he died in 2010. His father had bought the team for $8.7 million in 1973. However, he already had control of the day-to-day running of the New York Yankees as his father had gradually ceded control to him and the MLB owners approved the shift of control in November 2008. Steinbrenner is also on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay and is the Chairman and CEO of Steinbrenner Hotel Properties.
5. Ted Lerner – Washington Nationals- $3.3 Billion
Theodore N. ‘Ted’ Lerner was born on October 15, 1925, in Washington D.C. He is a real estate developer who founded Lerner Enterprises. This company is the largest landowner in the Washington metropolitan area. Lerner Enterprises Chelsea Pier in New York City as well as a range of commercial, residential, retail, and hotel properties. According to Forbes, Ted Lerner was the richest person in the state of Maryland, which is where he now lives. In 2006, the Lerner family became the majority shareholders of the Washington Nationals franchise, which owns the Washington Nationals baseball team. Furthermore, the Lerner family is also a partner in Monumental Sports & Entertainment. This company owns Capital One Arean, the NBA Washington Wizards, the WNBA Washington Mystics, and the NHL Washington Capitals. Ted Lerner is married to Annette Lerner and the couple have three children together; Mark, Debra, and Marla. They also have nine grandchildren.
4. Jim Pohlad- Minnesota Twins- $3.6 Billion
Jim Pohlad was born in 1953 and he is the son of Eloise and Carl Pohlad. His father, a billionaire financier, owned the Minnesota Twins baseball team. When his father died on January 5, 2009, Jim Pohlad inherited ownership of the Minnesota Twins franchise. His brother is a famous American film producer and director who is known for his work on films including ‘Brokeback Mountain’, ‘Into the Wild’, ’12 Years a Slave’, and ‘Love & Mercy’.
3. William DeWitt Jr. – St. Louis Cardinals- $4 billion
William DeWitt Jr. bought the St. Louis Cardinals in 1995 for $150 million and he is the managing partner and chairman of this baseball team franchise. This businessman was born on August 31, 1941, and he studied at Yale University and Harvard Business School. His father was Bill DeWitt, who was a long-time executive for Major League Baseball. William DeWitt Jr.’s other business interests include Spectrum 7, a petroleum company, and Reynold’s DeWitt & Co. The latter invests in the U.S. Paying Card Company and owns Arby’s franchises. In addition to owning the St. Louis Cardinals, DeWitt Jr. has previously invested in or owned Baltimore Orioles, the Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Singers hockey club, and the Cincinnati Reds. It is estimated that this businessman and sports fanatic’s personal net worth is in the region of $4 billion, although exact figures are unclear as various sources quote different figures. William DeWitt Jr. is married to Katherine Cramer and the couple has four children together.
2. John C. Malone- Atlanta Braves- $5.1 Billion
John C. Malone is a businessman, landowner, and philanthropist who was born in Milford, Connecticut, on March 7, 1941. He began his career at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1963. He then worked for several more companies, gradually working his way up the career ladder, until he became the president and CEO of Tele-Communications Inc. between 1973 and 1996. Currently, he is the chairman of Liberty Global, Inc. and Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. He is also on the board of directors for Expedia.com, the Cato Institute, and the Bank of New York Mellon. In terms of his land ownership, he owns Silver Spur Ranches which has several ranches across the United States. He is the largest individual landowner in the United States, an honor which was formerly held by Ted Turner. Malone also has international real estate holdings, including Castlemartin House and Estate and Humewood Castle in Ireland. His company, Liberty Media, bought Atlanta Braves for $450 million in 2007. He currently lives in Elizabeth, Colorado, with his wife Leslie. The couple has two children together and their son, Evan D. Malone, is on the board of Liberty Media. Although his net worth is listed as $5.1 billion, there are some that estimate that John C. Malone’s actual personal net worth is closer to $8 billion.
1. Charles Johnson – San Francisco Giants- $6.4 Billion
Topping the list of the richest MLB team owners is Charlie Johnson who has a level of wealth that many may describe as excessive. With a personal net worth of $6.4 billion, it is just surprising that he hasn’t bought half the teams in the MLB. Charles ‘Charlie’ Johnson was born in Montclair, New Jersey, on January 6, 1933. His father, Rupert Harris Johnson, founded a metal fund company in 1947. Charles Johnson and his half-brother, Rupert Johnson Jr., co-chaired this company, which was called Franklin Resources. In 1992, Charles Johnson bought the San Francisco Giants for $100 million. At the moment, he takes a back-seat in terms of the day-to-day running of the franchise and the team control duties are in the hands of Larry Bear, the head of the ownership group. Charles Johnson is married to Ann Demarest Lutes who qualified as a doctor after raising her family. The couple has seven children together, although one is now deceased. Gregory, his son, is now the chairman and CEO of Franklin Resources.