Cubs Co-Owner Todd Ricketts Suggested Moving Cubs out of Chicago in 2013

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2018

Tom Ricketts, center, with Laura Ricketts and Todd Ricketts, hoists the 2016 World Series Championship trophy before a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers on a home opening day, Monday, April 10, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
David Banks/Associated Press

Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts suggested moving the MLB organization from the Windy City during contentious negotiations with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel about Wrigley Field renovations in 2013.

On Tuesday, Molly Osberg of Splinter posted emails obtained from a family discussion about how to handle Emanuel's resistance to using taxpayer money to help upgrade the Friendly Confines.

"I think we should contemplate moving, or at least recognize that we are maybe not the right organization to own the Cubs," Todd Ricketts wrote in an email sent to patriarch Joe Ricketts, team chairman Tom Ricketts, Peter Ricketts and Laura Ricketts, who are also co-owners.

He added: "I just hate the thought of Tom having to grovel to this guy [Emanuel] to put money into a building we already own."

Joe Ricketts also expressed his displeasure with the situation, but didn't comment on the suggestion of moving the team to a Chicago suburb or another city entirely, per Osberg.

"Yes Todd, it makes me sad, it hurts my feelings to see Tom treated this way. He is way superior to the Mayor in every way," he wrote. "I have been brought up to deplore the type of value system adopted by the Mayor of Chicago. This is stating it mildly."

Those comments all came in response to a statement from Emanuel at a press conference after Tom Ricketts laid out plans for a $300 million renovation to the storied park.

"When I first started this discussion, the Cubs wanted $200 million in taxpayer dollars. I said no," he told reporters. "Then they said we'd like $150 million, and I said no. Then they asked whether they could have $100 million in taxpayer subsidies, and I said no. Then they asked about $55 million in taxpayer subsidies. I said no. The good news is, after 15 months they heard the word 'No.'"

In April 2017, Emanuel announced no public funding was used with the city instead making sure "regulations and everything like that is encumbered" throughout the process.

Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914, is the second-oldest stadium in MLB behind the Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park (1912).