Marlins fans can be forgiven for thinking, "It can't possibly get any worse than this." Two weeks into the season, the Fish have broken records for terrible attendance and horrible offense. No doubt: Jeffrey Loria is the worst current owner in sports. But is he the worst of all time? Probably not. Bamboozling the city into paying for his own personal crap art gallery with a baseball diamond in the middle was a shady move, but there are some past sports owners who make Loria look like a saint.
Harry Frazee: Harry Frazee, owner of the Boston Red Sox from 1916 to 1923, is the dude who sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in part to help fund a play called No, No, Nanette — which really makes getting Burke Badenhop for Miguel Cabrera not seem so bad. After they traded the Sultan of Swat in 1919, the Sox didn't have another winning season until 1935 and didn't win another World Series until 2004. Being the guy responsible for the 86-year "Curse of the Bambino" is a definite résumé killer.
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Charles Comiskey: You thought the Marlins were cheap when they took Cody Ross to arbitration over $200,000 after he had a career year? White Sox owner Charles Comiskey makes Loria look like Oprah Winfrey handing out free spa visits. Comiskey played a key role in the 1919 "Black Sox Scandal" by pissing off star pitcher Eddie Cicotte, who was set to earn a $10,000 bonus by winning 30 games. Then Comiskey ordered his manager to bench Cicotte for his final five starts to avoid the payout. This pissed Cicotte off so much that he took Mob money in exchange for throwing the World Series. Lesson: Don't be a cheap bastard.
Ken Richardson: Loria has this going for him: He's never been sent to jail for four years and described by police as "the type that would trample a two-year-old child to pick up a two-pence bit." That's Ken Richardson, who owned Doncaster Rovers FC, a lower-tier British soccer club, in the mid-'90s. In 1995, he hired two local thugs to burn down the team's stadium, all so he could collect the insurance money. The problem with local thugs is they aren't local geniuses, though, and one of the hired brainiacs dropped his cell phone at the scene — blowing the entire plan.
Five Sports Owners Worse Than Jeffrey Loria
James Dolan: The New York Knicks aren't too crap this year, which is a nice change of pace for James Dolan, who's owned the team since 1999. In that period, he has routinely fielded one of the most expensive teams in the league yet has just one playoff win (last season versus the Heat) to show for it. He's also stayed loyal to Isiah Thomas long enough to make Knicks fans suicidal.
Marge Schott: Loria might put shit players on the field, but former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott literally let her dogs shit all over the field. Schott notoriously refused to pay for outfielder Eric Davis' trip back to Cincinnati after he was hospitalized with kidney lacerations from trying to catch a fly ball in the 1990 World Series. The team refused to post out-of-town scores in its par, because the service would have set Schott back $350. Oh, and she notoriously supported "young Hitler," though she swore she didn't like the genocidal maniac he turned into.