(Video) Meet the new Cubs’ owners: The Ricketts’ Family

October 30, 2009

The Ricketts Family officially has control of the Cubbies.


Ricketts lined up by age: Pete (Omaha), Team Chairman Tom (Wilmette), Laura (Chicago) and Todd (Chicago)

They grew up in Omaha Nebraska and without WGN they might have been St Louis fans. Their father J. Ricketts’ graduated from Creighton.

Jim Hendry coached Creighton’s baseball team all the way to the College World Series and had number retired. The one and only CWS appearance and the one and only retired number in Creighton baseball history.

Probably enough to forgive last year, Soriano and Bradley. Kerry Wood, Mark DeRosa and Zambrano are another matter.


J. Joseph Ricketts, founded Ameritrade when Tom was 8 years old. The Ricketts’ childhood is described as normal middle class with their father working 80 hour weeks and worrying about paying bills. Ricketts senior let it be known that he wanted his children to establish themselves through their own hard work and would not be allowed to join TD Ameritrade until they reached the age of 30.

Tom Ricketts is the second oldest [runs a small investment bank] and lives with his wife Cecelia and their five children in Wilmette.

His older brother J. Peter Ricketts lives in Omaha [invests in startup companies] and was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Nebraska.

Younger sister Laura Ricketts developed and runs Ecotravel.com and serves on the board of directors of Lambda Legal.

Todd Ricketts “manages his investments”, including a bike shop in Highland Park.

Joe Ricketts (68) is no longer CEO of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., but he and son Pete remain on the board. The family is one of its largest stockholders at approx 17% of the shares – even after they sold 34M shares to buy the Cubs. Joe Ricketts still owns more than 90M shares = approx $1.8B.

I hope they sell a few more shares and buy back Mark DeRosa for whatever he wants.

The Ricketts’ coming out video.

Welcome to The Friendly Confines.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


[hand transcribed]

Ricketts goals/plans

  • Win the World Series
  • Improve and preserve Wrigley
  • Enhance the fans’ experience
  • They’re fans first
  • “Traditionalists”
  • Understand the “vibe of Wrigley”
  • Want to pass it on to next generation
  • Long term commitment to the team = good long term decisions
  • Reinvest the profits back into Wrigley
  • Lot of time and money to fix it
  • No name change – never even considered it
  • Haven’t considered personal seat licenses
  • Want to be good neighbors
  • Open-minded on new Spring Training location
  • No talks with Sandberg or “baseball people”
  • Payroll won’t be an issue (already $140M – 3rd highest)
  • Build the best franchise in baseball – bar none.

I think it already is…it’s just victory challenged.

TOM tidbits:

  • There’s no curse
  • Met his wife in CF bleachers
  • Has five kids
  • Favorite player: Andre Dawson

Strike one – should have said Ron Santo.


It’s going to be a big difference between family ownership and corporate ownership. For one thing, as you can tell from talking to us, we all have the same agenda, which may not always be happening inside a corporation.

We just want to win.We want to bring a championship back here.

Championship back? How many folks are alive to remember that last one?

Secondly, one thing we can do that Tribune may not have been able to do — or may have decided not to have done — is re-invest the profits here. We’re going to take the money we make and put it back into the stadium to preserve the experience for the next generation.

And I think the third thing is, with a family ownership, you can create a culture of accountability and excellence that maybe was more difficult to do when they were just one asset under the Tribune umbrella. We want to build the best franchise in baseball, bar none.

Everything we do is going to be first class. And we’ll just keep investing in this asset, and I think if we keep doing that, there may be ups and downs in the wins and loss column, but as long as we show we’re committed and people really know we’re committed, then I think it will go well, the public side of this whole package.

LAURA: (42) expects to be involved in community and government relations as well as the Cubs’ charities

We’d never want to tarnish the look and feel of this great tradition. And as always – the fans come first. That will be the most important factor when making changes.

I’m excited to have an opportunity to hopefully bring a championship to Chicago. We’re in a position now and we have an opportunity to make that happen.

We want to be good neighborsbe respectful of the community.

We’d really love to be known as the lovable winners instead of the lovable losers.

TODD: (40)

If you just win, everything else takes care of itself.

As a fan in the ’80s and ’90s, we’d all look at the roster at the beginning of the season, and the word ‘hope’ would always come out…For us, hope is just not a strategy anymore.

The reality is: this is about having fun.

If we’re not having fun, then we’re doing something wrong.

PETE: (45)

Leaving Wrigley:

Not if any of us ever wanted to set foot in Chicago again. We like coming to Chicago way too much.

Naming rights:

That would be a tough one to change. Not sure how you’d get away with that one.

Updating Wrigley:

We can look around and see, ‘How can we adapt these things for the Cubs?’…we have to look at what other people are doing — think creatively and apply it to Wrigley Field. When it comes to things like the Jumbotron, or whatever it’s going to be, we’ll have to see what other people are doing, but remember we have to preserve the Wrigley experience here to make sure it’s a Chicago fit.


[leaving Wrigley] never would’ve been a thought that crossed our minds. And we also understand there’s the actual game on the field and the actual experience of being in the stadium. We have to be respectful to both of those things. That’s what combines to make this the magical place it is.

You’d put us more in the camp of traditionalists, because we all have a feel for the Wrigley vibe. There’s something special about seeing a game here, that I think we all understand. … We’ll be open-minded to opportunities down the line to improve the stadium, but I think typically we’re going to be pretty close to the experience the fans love already.

Calling Wrigley Field a beer garden is unfair. Obviously, people come out here and socialize as well as watch a game. But there are a lot of people who come out here with a focus on baseball, and a lot of fans — real fans — when you talk to people around, it’s not like they just got their season tickets.

People have been coming here for 25 years or they came with their grandfather. [And grandmothers.] Obviously there is a social aspect to Wrigley that’s terrific, but I wouldn’t call it a beer garden.

Re: GM JIM HENDRY (3 years left on contract)

TOM: Jim is obviously under contract, but we like Jim and want to give him the opportunity to bring us a winner in 2010….We expect payroll to be comparable, if not slightly higher, next year. But, as you also know, the dollars leaving the door is not the issue. It’s the third highest payroll.

The issue is getting the right performance for the number of dollars you spend.

Soriano, Bradley, Zambrano, Greg, Hardin….

They don’t plan on being hands-on owners.

TOM: If we interject ourselves in those day-to-day decisions, then it’s going to be very difficult to hold anyone accountable at the end of the year.

And Milton Bradley?

TOM: That’s a question for Jim. We’ll just leave it at that.

Remember – he’s a fan first. Bradley is gone.

Re: LOU PINIELLA (1 year left on contract)


Lou Piniella is one of the best managers in baseball. He has an option to come back next year and we hope he does. I think he’s the right guy to improve on this year’s performance.

Lou of old maybe. Joe Giardi looks like the better pick now.


  • Developing the Triangle Building in the parking lot west of the ballpark, bordering Clark Street
  • Fans: food, players: weight room and clubhouse
  • Immediate improvement of restrooms and concessions
  • Improve flow of traffic on the concourse after the game
  • Possibly restoring beer vendors to the bleachers
  • Not sure about Jumbotron (in/out of park)
  • No discussion of more night games

They were nervous – only Cubfans would be nervous. Very reassuring as were their words: excited, excellence, opportunity, family ownership, traditionalists, same agenda, neighborhood, Wrigley vibe, preserve the Wrigley experience, down the road, long term, commitment, accountability, reinvest, next generation, franchise, strategy, fun.

A man who met his wife at Wrigley is not going to overhaul it, change the scoreboard or the name (as lomg as he remains happily married). That’s enough for me. If they can somehow get Ronnie into the Hall of Fame all the better.

As for the World Series? The last time I uttered those words they were preceded by: Only 5 outs away from.

Now if Mr Ricketts would stop calling it a stadium…

Source: Tribune’s PAUL SULLIVAN via WGN

Sullivan did not quote Laura Ricketts. Not a word. I imagine she will make that clear to him. Actually I can see her older brother taking care of it. Says alot about Sullivan and his should be seen and not heard view of women. What Laura Ricketts said and how she said it made clear they were raised Cubfans and she made sure to mention the neighborhood.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s