We're all familiar with who Frank McCourt is, the Parking Lot Attendant who leverages the hell out of everything. Sure, he oversaw the renovations of Dodger Stadium (including the urinal rooms), and the team reached the postseason 4 out of the 7 seasons he's been the guy in charge (vs 0 of the 6 seasons Fox ran the team, or 2 out of 13 seasons from 1989 to 2003 when MLB had playoffs). But, as Eric Gagne said after the 2005 season, before pitching all of two innings in 2006, "We're the fucking Dodgers," and we have standards, dammit! So with the help of Wikipedia, and other sources, a little bit about the other 29 teams and who runs them (yeah, you can look up most of this crap on Wikipedia and Forbes, but it would take you a while; this thing is 2371 words). If nothing else, useful perspective for when you possess the perfectly natural desire to lambast Frank McCourt as the worst owner in MLB.
Philadelphia Phillies - "The Phillies have a limited partnership with David Montgomery, the general partner. The four limited partners include: Claire S. Betz; Tri-Play Associates, which included Buck and his brothers J. Mahlon Buck Jr. and William C. Buck; Double Play Inc., with John S. Middleton its chairman; and Giles Limited Partnership, which is Bill Giles' family partnership." Bill Giles is the non of former NL President Warren Giles, and both he and David Montgomery worked in the Phillies front office for about a decade before buying the team in 1981, with their partners, for about $30,000,000.
Florida Marlins - The Florida Marlins are owned by Jeffrey Loria. Loria made his money as an art dealer, first working for Sears in a short-lived art buying program, then dealing paintings on his own. Loria owned a Texas Rangers minor league affiliate from 1989-1993, and then tried to buy the Orioles in 1994, but Peter Angelos beat him out. He bought a 24% stake in the Expos in December 1999 for $18,000,000 canadian (which at the time was about $12,000,000 USD), though after some cash calls this went up to 94%. Loria failed to get contracts for television broadcast or even English-speaking radio for the 2000 season. Loria also lobbied hard to move out of Olympic Stadium to Labatt Park, a proposed $200,000,000 downtown Montreal ballpark with a capacity of about 36,000. Then, in a move of 3 teams being simultaneously sold, Selig worked out a deal where MLB would buy the Expos for $120,000,000, and then chip in another $38,500,000 in interest-free loans so Loria could buy the Marlins for $158,500,000. As the Marlins owner, Loria has shed payroll as attendance continues to be pathetic and pocketed revenue sharing funds while claiming the team breaks even, helping to get the local government to pay more than they might otherwise for the Marlins' new retractable roof stadium, as Deadspin exposed.
Atlanta Braves - They still play at Turner Field, but Ted sold the team to Liberty Media, and they're not quite the cash cow they were in the 90s when their games were broadcast nationally on TBS on a regular basis. Liberty owns Starz, 48% of DirecTV and 50% of GSN. They were part of AT&T once. When acquiring the Braves, Liberty exchanged assets with Time Warner, though Forbes lists a purchase price of $400,000,000.
New York Mets - Fred Wilpon was a minority owner of the Mets, owning 1% of the team in 1980 when it was sold to Doubleday. Doubleday became a full partner with Wilpon a few years later, and in 2002 Wilpon bought the other 50% for $135,000,000, making him the full owner. Wilpon is also known for his involvement with Bernie Madoff, he is now facing lawsuits and the team is in poor financial shape and seeking to sell a minority share of the team.
Washington Nationals - are owned by Ted Lerner, who made his money developing in the DC area, including Tyson's Corner. Lerner bought the team from MLB for $450,000,000 in the middle of the 2006 season.
St. Louis Cardinals - William Dewitt Jr. bought the team from the Busch family in 1995 for $150,000,000. Dewitt, who as far as I know is not related to Blake, made his money through various business ventures, some involving future President George W. Bush.
Cincinnati Reds - Bob Castellini headed the ownership group that bought the Reds in 2006 for $270,000,000. Under his ownership, the Reds reached the postseason for the first time since 1995, with a successful crop of young players coming though, and young pitchers ready to be destroyed by Dusty Baker. Castellini also owns a fruit and vegetable wholesaler.
Milwaukee Brewers - Mark Attanasio, whose brother is an executive producer for House, bought the team from the Selig family in January 2005 for $200,000,000. Attanasio previously founded an investment group in 1991 and had other business ventures.
Robert Nutting (born March 29, 1962 in Wheeling, West Virginia) is a douche bag, who owns a historic baseball team, and blows his money on other ventures instead of working with what could be an excellent team, and a joke of a businessman. He is currently Chairman of the Board and principal (unfortunately) owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a Major League Baseball team
Nutting's father, G. Ogden Nutting, made his money as a publisher, and was part of the group, along with McClatchey that bought the team in 1996 for $95,000,000. The Nuttings are now majority owners, though it is not known how much those shares cost them. According to the Deadspin files, the Pirates do pretty well financially too.
Chicago Cubs - the loveable losers were purchased in 2009 by Joseph Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, for $850,000,000. Previously they were owned by the Tribune Company, who purchased them in 1981 for $20,500,000.
Houston Astros - Drayton McLane, Jr bought the team in 1993 for $117,000,000, and pushed to move the team out of the Astrodome into their current stadium, Minute Maid Park (at one point Enron Field). When he wasn't going to get a stadium, McLane nearly sold the team to William Collins, who would have moved the team to Northern Virginia, but getting a Northern Virginia stadium wasn't going to happen, and Houston got him his new ballpark. More recently, McLane has put the Astros up for sale.
Colorado Rockies - franchise rights sold to Charlie Monfort and Jerry McMorris in 1992 for $95,000,000 per Forbes. Currently the team is owned by Monfort and his brother, Dick. The Monfort brothers inherited their money from the family meatpacking and distributing company, acquired by ConAgra in 1987.
Los Angeles Dodgers - yes, Frank McCourt, who failed to buy the Red Sox and Angels before buying the Dodgers in 2004, and who just hasn't been able to keep himself out of the news for the last year and a half. Previously owned by NewsCorporation, and before then owned by the O'Malley family. To buy the team, of course, McCourt borrowed nearly the entire purchase amount, putting up his parking lot property in Boston as collateral, and Fox was happy to accept. For everything McCourt, check out Dodger Divorce.
San Francisco Giants - are owned by a partnership which bought the team in 1993 for $100,000,000 per Forbes. Peter Magowan, who made his money from Safeway among other ventures, stepped down as managing general partner after 2008 and Bill Neukom took over. Neukom was an attorney with Bill Gates Sr's law firm and was Microsoft's lead counsel for around 25 years.
Arizona Diamondbacks - Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo was the MGP until 2004, when Ken Kendrick took over. Kendrick made his money with the software company Datatel, a company which specializes in software for higher education, and through banking. Kendrick's group bought the team in 2004 for $238,000,000 per Forbes.
San Diego Padres - after John Moores' divorce, a partial share of the team was sold to Jeff Moorad's investment group in 2009. For a little over two years, Moorad owned the Padres and also was a minority owner of the Diamondbacks. This past March, MLB.com reported that he sold his share of the D-Backs to Kendrick's group. Before that, Moorad was an agent, perhaps most notably negotiating Manny Ramirez's 8 year, $160,000,000 deal to the Red Sox. Forbes reports a purchase price of $480,000,000 for the Padres, when Moorad took over in 2009.
New York Yankees - the late George Steinbrenner bought the team in 1973 for $10,000,000 from CBS. He was known for his antics, for being the key driver of free agency, and for having the deepest pockets in MLB. His sons Hank and Hal run the team now.
Tampa Bay Rays - Stuart Sternberg, a Wall Street investor and former Goldman Sachs executive, is the principal owner. In 2004 he bought the team for $200,000,000 per Forbes. He is reportedly interested in buying the Mets, because people go to their games, though he has not said so.
Baltimore Orioles - Peter Angelos, a Baltimore native who got rich from asbestos litigation, owns this franchise. He is known to be a meddlesome owner, though he appears to have stopped "Dan Snydering" the team and is letting Andy MacPhail do his thing while he sits back. The purchase price in 1993 was $173,000,000.
Toronto Blue Jays - Rogers Communications bought the team in 2000 for $137,000,000. Rogers is a telecom giant in Canada that owns a lot of stuff.
Boston Red Sox - John Henry and Thomas Werner bought the team in 2002 for $380,000,000, and the team has done well under their ownership. Henry was fined $500,000 by Selig in 2009 (in a story that didn't go public until this year!) for criticizing MLB's revenue sharing system, particularly in how it makes it profitable to own a perpetually bad team, e.g. his Marlins owner successor Jeff Loria.
Cleveland Indians - owned by Larry Dolan, who bought the team in 2000 for $323,000,000. Dolan is a former marine who made his money as an attorney, having been managing partner of his law firm. Let's Go Tribe said, a year and a half ago, of Dolan:
Mr. Dolan, the perception of your team by both fans, analysts and industry professionals is one of steady-handedness, nearly computerized decision making and a maddening level of dittoheading surrounding terms like professionalism, integrity and loyalty. In short, it appears that you tried to run what amounts to a mom and pop operation like a Fortune 500 company. That's not going to work. If you're bringing a knife to a gunfight, the only way you win is if everyone else thinks you're insane. You're the Continental Army not the British: don't you get that?
Detroit Tigers - Mike Illitch made his money from Little Caesar's. He bought the team in 1992 for $82,000,000 from Tom Monaghan, who got rich from Domino's, thus insuring that the Tigers would continue to be owned by moguls of inferior pizza. Illitch has spent enough on payroll to lose money, and SI wrote a complementary cover story on the matter regarding the 2009 Tigers.
Kansas City Royals - David Glass, former President and CEO of Walmart, does contrast a fair amount with Mike Illitch. Glass bought the team for $96,000,000, despite a competing bid for $120,000,000, because of MLB's provision that the other buyer did not have the necessary minimum net worth to buy a team. Critics point to him running the team like it's Walmart. It's off topic, but I'll link here to some quotes from a Dateline interview from when he still ran Walmart.
Minnesota Twins - Carl Pohlad owned the team from 1984 until his death in 2009, when he passed the team onto his son, Jim, whom he found much more deserving than that lousy Billy Heywood kid. According to Wikipedia, "[Carl] Pohlad got his start in the banking business by foreclosing farms during the Great Depression." Pohlad built an empire with his bank, eventually selling it to Wells Fargo. He reportedly was willing to sell the Twins to someone who would move the team to Charlotte, but never got it done. He also tied for 107th richest American in 2006 with a net worth of $2,600,000,000. Carl Pohlad bought the team for a whopping $44,000,000.
Chicago White Sox - owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, who also owns the Bulls. Reinsdorf has made his influence known throughout MLB. He brought about revenue sharing from MLB Advanced Media. He also has argued strongly against players unions, saying Donald Fehr's resistance to steroid testing is why so many players won't get into the hall of fame. He also threatened to move the White Sox out of Chicago unless they build him a new ballpark, now US Cellular field. From Time:
In the 1980s, Jerry Reinsdorf, who still controls the Chicago White Sox, and one Bud Selig, then owner of the Milwaukee Brewers - called the president of the Philadelphia Phillies to dissuade him from signing Lance Parrish, a free agent catcher from the Detroit Tigers.
(McCourt would probably like to ask Selig how collusion is in the best interests of baseball). Anyway, Reinsdorf bought the team for $20,000,000 in 1981.
Texas Rangers - Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg bought the team last year, though Forbes lists Ray Davis and Bob Simpson as the guys who primarily put up the money, for $593,000,000. Nolan Ryan is the all time leader in strikeouts, and delivered a famous beating to Robin Ventura in 1993 (update: video here).
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Arte Moreno. He bought the team for $180,000,000 in 2003, and the team has generally done well under his ownership. Also the first Latino to own an MLB team.