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In order to objectively decide which owners in big league history have performed their duties best, we need to make a number of highly subjective judgments. That inevitable clouding of the water makes it impossible to know for sure that an owner is better or worse than another; it is too difficult to tell causes from effects.
I wanted to create a relatively scientific system that would compare owners fairly, though, so I set out to do so by determining what makes a good owner. I came up with 10 criteria of varying importance. Here are the 10 categories, expressed in this case as questions requiring quantitative answers:
1. To what extent did Owner X successfully foster a healthy working relationship with the community or communities in which their team(s) played?
2. To what extent did Owner X consistently reinvest team profits in players and/or stadium improvements?
3. To what extent did Owner X change the perception or practice of the game at either a national or local level, and what are the legacies of those changes?
4. To what extent was Owner X well-liked by players and executives around the league, and how much did this reputation affect the team's ability to acquire and retain talent?
5. To what extent did Owner X possess an intimate knowledge of baseball itself, and how well did Owner X use that knowledge or lack thereof Did Owner X delegate effectively to his or her front office?
6. To what extent did Owner X's team rise or fall in stature, visibility, profitability and competitiveness during Owner X's tenure?
7. To what extent did Owner X treat his or her fan base with respect, keeping ticket prices affordable and not moving the team without cause?
8. Did Owner X's team(s) win one or more World Series while Owner X was in charge?
9. Did Owner X's team(s) win 80 or more games per season during Owner X's tenure(s)?
10. Did Owner X own one or more teams for at least 15 seasons?
Having discerned the answers to these questions, award:
I. 0-5 points for each of the first three questions.
II. 0-3 points for questions 4-7.
III. 0-1 points for questions 8-10.
It's that simple. A perfect score would be 30. Wayne Huizenga scored seven points by my calculations. Let's see what the 25 best results look like.