Tiger's Owner Mike Ilitch Dies at 87

PawsnSox

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SoSH Member
Oct 6, 2009
176
New York
May the sun shine brightly on his infield and his knees be strong enough to carry him -- RIP
. Detroit has been lucky to have such a committed and passionate advocate and caretaker for the Tigers and the Red Wings.
 

ToeKneeArmAss

Paul Byrd's pitching coach
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So sad he didn't see a Tigers championship during his ownership. He sure gave it a shot though.

In fact I suspect the front office made some decisions in favor of short term success at the expense of the long term because of his age. For his sake I wish they had worked out, but for the sake of the franchise it's probably for the best that this dynamic is no longer a factor.
 

mauf

Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers
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InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
9,039
There are not many owners of professional sports teams who are objectively good people. Ilitch was one of them, in spite of the odds. Ewing Kauffman was another in his class.
 

Van Everyman

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Apr 30, 2009
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Newton
Not to be a jerk but does a billionaire paying a local civil rights hero's rent really make Ilitch an "objectively good person"?

Don't get me wrong. This was a nice gesture – thoughtful and kind. And the fact that it wasn't public indeed says something good about him. But let's not go overboard. People rarely make billions of dollars by being saints. At the bare minimum, he surely took a ton of public money to support two sports franchises.

Fake edit: and here is the Deadspin article right on cue that suggests he was a ruthless businessman. The whole article is worth reading but this is a good summary:

This is not to piss on Ilitch’s generosity—he helped pay part of Rosa Parks’ rent late in her life—but rather to point out what many won’t, or at least haven’t. Ilitch was simply a tremendously wealthy pizza mogul with a bad wig who exploited the city council, capitalized on a depressed real estate market, and spent money on his sports teams commensurate with metro Detroit being a well-off area hungry for championships. He wasn’t a savior. Sure, if we’re going by the extremely low bar for scumbag billionaire sports owners, Ilitch looks like Mother Teresa compared to Dan Snyder. Yes, he had a measurable impact on the city—creating short-term construction jobs, part-time concessions gigs, and hourly-wage jobs at the Motor City Casino (which is in his wife’s name, per MLB’s collective bargaining agreement)—but it’s patently ridiculous to paint him as Bruce Wayne (if Wayne Enterprises sold stale breadsticks).
http://deadspin.com/mike-ilitch-was-no-saint-1792480558
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
9,039
I was going less on the Rosa Parks thing (ah-ha, hush that fuss, everybody move to the back of the bus...) and more on his commitment to keeping his teams in Detroit, at probably some considerable financial opportunity cost to himself personally.

I read that article, and I'm not impressed. Bob Kraft is 10x the ruthless businessman Mike Ilitch was; I mean, Kraft basically back-stabbed his own father-in-law in order to get his first big break in business. Ilitch sold shitty pizza with good marketing. So what if his company bought up a bunch of parcels of land that the city council was willing to steer favorably towards him, in order to let him make a new arena? Fucking great. Compared to the shenanigans of most sports owners, that is dog-bites-man stuff. Oh look, real estate developer uses tax breaks. Run that one live, Tom Brokaw!

Deadspin is into hit pieces knocking someone down a peg, I get that. I don't think the Pope is going to be putting Ilitch up for canonization anytime soon. But on the spectrum of business-mogul-sports-owner, ranging from Hiroshi Yamauchi down to Dan Snyder, Ilitch looks pretty good to this outsider.