Congrats to the women’s liberation movement. Thanks to their tireless efforts, not only can a woman run a baseball team, but she has the cultural latitude to act just as miserly as her male counterparts.
For 30 years, singing-cowboy-turned-business-titan Gene Autry ruled his beloved California Angels with a beneficent hand. He lavished money on free agents and kept ticket prices affordable despite the obvious incompatibility of such a strategy.
So what if his tactics descended the franchise into financial ruin? At least the man cared.
Enter wife Jackie Autry, 34 years her husband’s junior and hellbent on bringing fiscal austerity to Southern California. In the early ‘90s, with Gene’s health failing, Jackie assumed unofficial control of the franchise and put a quick end to the Angels’ big spending.
From the L.A. Times, 1991:
“But it is Jackie Autry...who says she was 'astounded' at the club's historic lack of profitability, who increasingly directs the operations of the club, declaring that it must stop losing money and that the free spending that has marked the fervent attempts to 'Win One for the Cowboy,' must end.”
See, Jackie wasn’t your typical trophy wife. She was an astute business woman, a former banker, in fact, who wasn’t about to let her dying husband’s quixotic dream of a championship interfere with future earnings.
Truth be told, Jackie’s callousness made the Angels much stronger in the long term. Her commitment to developing cheap talent through the minor leagues laid the groundwork for the Angels first and only World Series title in 2002.