We are all familiar with the common belief that the Dolan family is greedy, avaricious and pathologically cheap. But in fact they are pretty good owners. There are plenty of worse ones. So I got to thinking about where the Indians' owners rank. Consider this a purely subjective list. Graded on overall performance, lack of interference, success, investment in product, and general likability. Some of the owners below (e.g., Pohlad, Moorad) are out of date.
I don't know anywhere near enough to pass judgment on most of these owners, but here's an attempt at ranking them:
(1) Boston Red Sox (John Henry): Hired Bill James, keeps mouth shut, invests in farm system.
(2) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Arturo Moreno): Something of a showboat, but didn't re-sign Frank Rodriguez.
(3) St. Louis Cardinals (William O. DeWitt, Jr.): Classy organization in best baseball town in America.
(4) Milwaukee Brewers (Mark Attanasio): Complained about the Yankees' signing everybody.
(5) New York Mets (Fred Wilpon): Not too obnoxious for a New York team.
(6) Chicago White Sox (Jerry Reinsdorf): Hard to believe, but maybe he's a good owner. Probably the most hawkish, anti-Players Association owner. Don't forget 1994.
(7) Cleveland Indians (Larry Dolan): Might rank higher if Dolan would ever take out his wallet. Where are the onions? And who's doing his PR?
(8) Philadelphia Phillies (David Montgomery): This is just a guess. According to reports in Philly, he's a piker as well.
(9) Tampa Bay Rays (Stuart Sternberg): Took over for a lunatic owner and seems to have a clue.
(10) Colorado Rockies (Charlie Monfort): Appears to be smart, and hired Dan O'Dowd.
(11) Atlanta Braves (Liberty Media): Ted Turner doesn't like them—is that a bad thing? TV station gets bonus points for shutting down Chip Caray.
(12) Oakland Athletics (Lewis Wolff): Hard to get a read on this franchise. Dump players, sign players, then dump them again. Where would they be without their GM?
(13) Seattle Mariners (Nintendo): Game company just a shadow owner; the club is actually owned and operated by one Ichiro Suzuki.
(14) Arizona Diamondbacks (Jeff Moorad): Former agent (about to go to San Diego?), lots of debt, franchise can't figure out what it is: big market or not?
(15) Detroit Tigers (Mike Ilitch): Pizza maniac throws money at Pudge, Sheff, D Train, etc. Wha' happened?
(16) Toronto Blue Jays (Rogers Communications): Hired J.P. "Big Pimpin'" Ricciardi; renamed Skydome.
(17) Chicago Cubs (Tribune Company): Absentee owners don't care as long as the seats are filled. Party is soon to be over. Any team can have a bad century.
(18) San Diego Padres (John Moores): Unloading assets to pay for divorce; can't the Padres buy any hitting?
(19) San Francisco Giants (Peter Magowan): Spends money foolishly; see Renteria, Edgar. Likes old people, though.
(20) Kansas City Royals (David Glass): He was supposed to be enlightened, but then he gets Mike Jacobs and Kyle Farnsworth.
(21) Minnesota Twins (Carl Pohlad): RIP, but ein echte Karger. Contract me!
(22) Los Angeles Dodgers (Frank McCourt): Indians have Carlos Santana to show for his interference with baseball operations.
(23) Texas Rangers (Thomas O. Hicks): Chan Ho Park, George W. Bush, Alex Rodriguez: the prosecution rests.
(24) Baltimore Orioles (Peter Angelos): Forces his operations people to make stupid moves. Overvalues his assets.
(25) Houston Astros (Drayton McLane, Jr.): Always unloading salary; then buys a dumb contract. In his favor: dumped Phil Garner.
(26) Cincinnati Reds (Robert Castellini): Pity the Reds. Almost makes Marge Schott look good.
(27) New York Yankees (George Steinbrenner): The greatest meddler in the history of the game (Chas. Finley?) and a bona fide blowhard. Also a convicted liar, as Billy Martin said.
(28) Pittsburgh Pirates (Robert Nutting): Setting the record for the longest losing streak ever.
(29) Washington Nationals (Theodore N. Lerner): Micromanager extraordinaire. Requisition forms required for purchase of paper clips. Permitted Jim Bowden to extend Cristian Guzman's contract.
(30) Florida Marlins (Jeffrey Loria): Hands down, worst owner. Still trying to get a stadium from Florida taxpayers. Puts revenue sharing in his pocket. Ruined the Expos.