Chicago Cubs

Control of 133-Year-Old Chicago Cubs Franchise Finally Taken by Ricketts Family

CHICAGO - AUGUST 30: A worker in the scoreboard looks at fans in the center field bleachers during a game between  the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets on August 30, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Mets defeated the Cubs 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jake KarmelCorrespondent IIOctober 29, 2009

In the Cubs' 133 year old history, the team has been owned by one of the founders of the National League, a sporting goods mogul, a chewing gum company, and a media company. The newest owner to the list, a family of Cubs fans.

On Tuesday, Tom Ricketts officially took control of the Cubs and 25-percent of Comcast Sportsnet. The deal was valued at $845 million.

Family members Todd, Tom, Pete, and Laura will form a board of directors. The Tribune Company will hold a five-percent interest in the team and sit on the board. Tom Ricketts will be the chairman.

"My family and I are thrilled that this day has finally come and we thank [Major League Baseball] Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball owners for approving our ownership," Tom Ricketts said in a statement on cubs.com. "Now we will go to work building the championship tradition that all Cubs fans so richly deserve."

The Ricketts family will hold a formal news conference on Friday during a travel day for the Yankees and Phillies.

Past owners have included William Hulbert, the first president of the National League, who took over the then named Chicago White Stockings in 1876. Albert Spalding took over as the team's general manager after the 1876 season. Spalding, became the team owner after Hulbert's death in 1882.

Spalding was followed briefly by James Hart from 1902-05, and sold the team to Charles Murphy for $105,000. Murphy was the owner the last time the Cubs won a World Series in 1908.

Charles Weeghman purchased the team as part of a syndicate, which included chewing gum executive William Wrigley, who took control in 1919. He was succeeded by his son, Philip, in 1932, and by his son, William, in 1977. The Wrigley family ended its ownership of the Cubs in June 1981, when they sold the team to the Tribune Co.

Under the media company, the Cubs have had 17 managers, including current skipper Lou Piniella, and won the National League East twice (1984, '89), the Wild Card once (1998), and the Central Division three times (2003, '07, '08).

They have not reached the World Series since 1945, and have not won it all since 1908, as us Cubs fans and the rest of the sports world know as the longest "dry" streak in professional sports.

"I just hope they keep trying to win-that's the bottom line," third baseman Aramis Ramirez said on cubs.com. "I hope they keep adding the pieces they need."

The sale was approved by the MLB Owners unanimously on October sixth.

 

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