When this thread was started, I wrote to the guy who runs http://www.UnitedStatesofBaseball.com
, which is a pretty neat site. Peter Handrinos writes more than I ever thought was possible about a variety of baseball-related topics, the site is worth checking out. He seems pretty insightful.
But anyway, I asked him what his thoughts were about getting this information. Here's what he had to say:
Pete from the US of B wrote:
I’ve been kind of pressed for time lately, so I’ll try to give you a more complete, better answer in one of my ‘The Readers Write’ columns within the next couple of weeks.
You can get estimates on owners’ personal fortunes through sources like Fortune and Forbes, or through Lexis/Nexis searches on past profiles. However, that kind of personal info is very sensitive, and owners have no obligations to disclose them to the public. Only their accountants, or butlers perhaps, know exactly how much they’re worth at any given moment.
In general, MLB owners carry far less personal worth than NFL owners, if only because NFL owners need so much money to buy up lucrative football teams.
On the larger issue of whether this makes a difference to ballclubs (which is where I assumed this was going), he said this:
Your larger point seems to be misplaced, however. MLB, far more than any other major sport, allows teams to rise and fall based on their on- and off-field investments. I can’t see how an owner would be dumb enough to prop up a money loser over any length of time, or drain a money-making franchise over the long term. To be sure, there’s always been talk that kindly old Ewing Kauffman or mean old Frank McCourt either stuffed money into the their teams, or drained it out, based on their personal, off-field inclinations. However, I can’t see how those kind of unconfirmed rumors can possibly be true according to the fundamental self interests. In general, baseball franchises, like all stand-alone businesses, have to make it on their own merits.
Long story short- competitive balance and owners’ personal fortunes are two different subjects. As you might know, I try to take on the former through the Pirates ex. In ‘Fire Kevin McClatchy’.
Thoughts? I'll keep an eye out for the Readers' Write column he mentioned.