Right Now, Reinsdorf at Top of His Game as Owner

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

Right Now, Reinsdorf at Top of His Game as Owner


Byline: Bruce Miles

The pantheon of Chicago sports ownership isn't exactly a Mt. Olympus.

Given that, where does White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf rank among the moguls of the Midway, both today and all time?

It says here Reinsdorf is hands down the best owner of professional sports franchises in Chicago today, and he ranks second all time only to Papa Bear George Halas, who not only operated the Chicago Bears for most of his adult life but also helped found the National Football League, which today has become a colossus.

Let's get a few technicalities straight. First, Reinsdorf isn't the sole "owner" of the White Sox. He's an investor with a hefty stake in the franchise, and he's chairman of its board of directors. As such, he's the point man for all of the club's big decisions, so we'll call him the "owner."

Reinsdorf wins the top-owner award in this column because of his ability to get things done.

Like him or not - and plenty of people don't like Reinsdorf for whatever reason - he has gotten results with both sports franchises he owns in Chicago: the NBA's Bulls and the White Sox.

Does he deserve all the credit? Certainly not, but if owners are fair game when it comes time to parcel out blame, they should be in line for at least a little credit.

Reinsdorf's Bulls won six titles in the 1990s, thus sealing their place in NBA history. The White Sox have not yet won a World Series under Reinsdorf, but they've accomplished the toughest task in team sports four times: finishing in first place over the long baseball season. Once a team gets to the postseason, anything can happen. Just ask the Atlanta Braves or the St. Louis Cardinals.

All of this isn't to say Reinsdorf has been perfect. Far from it. His attempted move of the White Sox to Tampa in 1988 planted seeds of mistrust among many White Sox fans.

Reinsdorf hardly is alone when it comes to owners who would have moved the Sox. The Allyn family flirted with Milwaukee and Seattle interests before Bill Veeck rode into town in late 1975. It also has been rumored that Veeck had a deal with oil man Marvin Davis to move the White Sox to Denver around 1980. …

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