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Derek Jeter: Yankees owner

Mar 3, 2010, 8:27 AM EDT

jeter.jpgKevin Kernan thinks that Derek Jeter’s future is in ownership:

The Yankees need to find a way to make Derek Jeter a Yankee for Life.
There’s really only one way. At some point the Steinbrenner family
would have to take him into the ownership group . . . Jeter is set on being an owner when his playing days are done.
Without specifically talking about the Yankees, Jeter told The Post
yesterday that being an owner is “definitely a goal of mine.”

First thought: why do the the Yankees need to find a way to make Jeter a Yankee for life? He’s important, sure, but I think the Yankees are more important to him than he is to them. The team has done just fine without making Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, or Reggie Jackson an owners, so I tend to think they’ll survive just fine if they were to hold the line at “special assistant to the general manager” or “spring training instructor” when it comes to Derek Jeter’s future role with the team.

But let’s say all parties are interested in Derek Jeter being an owner. How would that work?

There was a time not too long ago when the Yankees’ ownership club wasn’t the most exclusive in the world. George Steinbrenner was only one of many notables in the original ownership group that purchased the Yankees from CBS in 1973. Included were guys like financier Lester Crown (who still holds a stake), Football legend Lamar Hunt’s brother Nelson, and John DeLorean of all people.  There were a lot of smaller investors from here in Columbus, Ohio, one of whom was a nice old lady who used to be a client of mine. She had Yankee stuff all over her house and used to joke with people that she was going to fire Joe Torre whenever the Yankees beat the Indians as, business aside, they were her true rooting interest.

In recent years the Steinbrenners have either bought out the minority owners or had their shares revert to their control upon death or what have you.  But that doesn’t mean that they can’t let someone like Derek Jeter into the club.  It would just take a (likely token) capital investment and some paperwork.

But it wouldn’t be meaningful ownership. According to Forbes, the Yankees are worth $1.5 billion, and at that price it would cost Jeter way more than he can afford* in order to get a significant stake for himself. And of course, the majority shareholders — the Steinbrenners — are hands-on owners to say the least, so there’s no way they would ever give a minority shareholder real ownership responsibility the way the Giants do, for example.

So if Jeter simply wants to say that he owns a chunk of the Yankees I’m sure that can be arranged. If he really wants to act like an owner some day, however, he’d do better to put together a group of investors himself and buy the Royals or something.

*Kernan mentions Michael Jordan’s recent ascension to owner of the Charlotte Bobcats as an example that Jeter could follow. Worth noting, of course, that the Bobcats are worth less than 1/5 of what the Yankees are worth, and that Michael Jordan has probably made a billion dollars since he left UNC.  Jeter, in contrast, makes something less than $30 million a year in salary and endorsements. Not too shabby, but not the kind of dough you’d need to be able to so much as make decisions regarding office supplies for Yankees headquarters.

  1. fordprefect - Mar 3, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    put together a group of investors himself and buy the Royals or something.
    For the Royals, wouldn’t rifling the couch for change do the trick?

  2. Howie B. - Mar 3, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    It is unseemly to link to my own blog post, but its shorter than re-posting my thoughts here:

  3. Jamie - Mar 3, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    You haven’t factored in the Taco Hole money.

  4. BCTF - Mar 3, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Maybe he just wanted to be an owner of a fantasy team. This article was just taken out of context. Kind of like when Michael Jordon wanted to buy a “Ball Park”. He was just talking about a hot dog.

  5. ditmars1929 - Mar 3, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    Craig, I live here in NYC and have been a lifelong Yankee fan.
    This is just another bullshit article to manufacture news. We get this all the time up here, even during the season when there is real news to report, but it’s particularly painful in the offseason when there are more slow news days. It’s most ridiculous.
    Yes, Jeter has gone on record many times about his ownership aspirations, but he’s never clarified exactly what type of ownership. For all we know, he could be interested in owning a couple of minor league teams, like Nolan Ryan does. Or he could be interested in a major league team, although I agree with you that he can’t afford the Yankees, and any ownership in them would just be a small token (like a fan owning exactly one share of the Green Bay Packers).
    But of course, the Post has to sensationalize non-news to sell papers, so we’re stuck with such stupidity.
    fordprefect, your comment was as funny as your internet moniker. Thanks for all the fish.

  6. Grant - Mar 3, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    To piggyback on this, this sounds like the occasional stirring we get down in Maryland for Cal Ripken to own the Orioles. Cal is a wealthy man, and he owns a minor league team and that stadium complex in Aberdeen, but he doesn’t have the juice to be majority owner of the Orioles. He just doesn’t, and I’m guessing he never will. An occasional Six Flags or Comcast endorsement just isn’t going to make him that kind of dough. So, sure, you want an ex-superstar as a figurehead owner, go ahead. But somebody else is ponying up the cash and probably making most of the decisions that matter.

  7. ditmars1929 - Mar 3, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Exactly, Grant. Thanks for the additional example. I will also add that, if it really were possible, I think Jeter would make an excellent owner for any team. I do wonder how he’d make out as a GM.

  8. YANKEES1996 - Mar 3, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Jeter may well go down in history as the greatest Yankee to ever play, but ownership of or being involved in the ownership of the Yanks is unlikely at best. Besides lets get him signed to his final contract and let him play that out before rushing him out the door and into an owners box somewhere.

  9. stultusmagnus - Mar 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    Yeah, I was surprised reading this but maybe I shouldn’t be since it’s coming from the Post. Why Jeter? Why not any other hall of fame, veteran Yankee? Seems like a reporter trying to drum something up.

  10. Rich in NJ - Mar 3, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    Kernan is kind of out there. I rarely read him.

  11. Dan in Katonah - Mar 3, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    Unless I am mistaken, it is a violation of the CBA and MLB rules for an active player to have or be promised ownership interest.

  12. Ray - Mar 3, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    Too funny!! Great SNL reference. Made my day.

  13. Ray - Mar 3, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    Too funny!! Great SNL reference. Made my day.

  14. scatterbrian - Mar 3, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    I’m waiting to see Derek Jeter, player/manager.

  15. OsandRoyals - Mar 3, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    Yeah my first thought was Jeter following in the footsteps of Ripken, owning a few minor league teams (at least i thought he owned or co-owned a few). I keep hearing how his minor league stuff is well-managed and I suspect that’s probably what jeter will do with maybe a few baseball camps or whatnot.
    I suppose that Jeter could end up being involved in a group buyout of a baseball team like Nolan was, but I’m not sure Jeter would be interested in anything but the Yankees.
    Re:Dan in Katona
    Wouldn’t surprise me, but I suspect that it will probably be a vague verbal promise, with whomever saying that Jeter might have the possibility to become an owner. I mean that’s what attorneys are for. Also you from katonah, ny? My sister went to Harvey

  16. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Mar 3, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    Jeter may well go down in history as the greatest Yankee to ever play…

    Hyperbole might be the greatest thing ever, but no no no, one thousand times no. It’s not even close Berra, Mantle, DiMaggio, Gehrig, and of course Ruth are/were soooo much better than Jeter. I’m a yanks fan, but the praising at the altar of Jeter is getting a little ridiculous.

  17. Cleareye - Mar 3, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    Jeter as an owner makes real sense. He deserves it more than the Steinbenners. They should prove themselves capable of competing and winning without assistance from their family. The run the franchise by default.

  18. Issac Maez - Mar 3, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    Love the blog, i found you via google and will be bookmarking you right now.

  19. Matthew C. Kriner - Mar 3, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    love the site it rocks i will defo be coming back for more, whenever i get the chance and you will be added to my bookmarks.

  20. smokehouse - Mar 3, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    Good Lord. Yankees 24/7/365. There are 29 other teams. I will never again open a Yankee or Mets story. Tired of all the crap about these two teams.

  21. AJ Gallo - Mar 4, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    As a lifelong, diehard Yankees fan, making Jeter a part owner when his playing days are over would be the smartest thing that the entire, jackass Steinbrenner family will have ever done.

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