Tom Werner

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Tom Werner
Chairman of the Boston Red Sox
Incumbent
Assumed office
February 2002
Chairman of Liverpool Football Club
Incumbent
Assumed office
December 1, 2010
Preceded by Martin Broughton
Personal details
Born Thomas Charles Werner
(1950-04-12) April 12, 1950 (age 64)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Hotchkiss School
Harvard University
Profession Businessman

Thomas Charles "Tom" Werner (born April 12, 1950) is an American television producer, screenwriter, director, and businessman. Via his investment in Fenway Sports Group (originally New England Sports Ventures), Tom serves as chairman of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club.

Early life[edit]

Werner was born in New York City, New York. He was educated at St. Bernard's School in Manhattan, The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, and earned an English degree from Harvard University.

Television career[edit]

In 1973, Werner entered television by working for ABC-TV. In 1975, he became the Director of East Coast Prime Time Development. Werner was promoted to senior vice president of the prime-time development department in 1979. While at ABC, Werner and his partner Marcy Carsey saw Robin Williams in a comedy club and launched Mork & Mindy. Werner also oversaw the development of Bosom Buddies which started the career of Tom Hanks, as well as Soap which started the career of Billy Crystal and Taxi which started the career of Danny DeVito.

Werner co-founded The Carsey-Werner Company with Marcy Carsey in 1980. In this capacity he served as executive producer of such television programs as The Cosby Show, Roseanne, 3rd Rock from the Sun and That 70s Show. Werner made nearly $600 million selling episodes of The Cosby Show for syndication. In 1996, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.[1] In 1999, he was honored at the Museum of Television and Radio.

Werner and his company has earned 24 Emmy Awards, 11 People's Choice Awards, and numerous Golden Globes, Humanitas Prizes, and Peabody Awards. He is also the 2001 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America along with his partner Marcy Carsey.

During the administration of President Bill Clinton, Werner and Carsey were close friends and frequent advisers to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In 2000, Werner, Carsey, and longtime partner Caryn Mandabach joined Oprah Winfrey to start Oxygen, a 24-hour cable channel serving the modern woman.

Sports[edit]

San Diego Padres[edit]

Werner's first foray at owning a professional sports franchise began on June 14, 1990, when he, along with 14 other Southern California-based investors, purchased the San Diego Padres from Joan Kroc for US $75 million.[2][3] Holder of the largest financial stake in the ballclub, he served as the general managing partner amongst co-owners who were described by a former Padres employee as being fractious.[4]

Just under six weeks into his new ownership role, Werner attempted to cross-promote the team with one of his television series in between games of a twi-night doubleheader versus the Cincinnati Reds at Jack Murphy Stadium on July 25, 1990. On an evening billed as Working Women's Night at the ballpark, he had invited Roseanne Barr, the eponymous star of one of his sitcoms, to perform The Star-Spangled Banner. She comically sang the national anthem with a loud, screechy voice. After finishing her rendition, she grabbed her crotch and spat at the ground in an attempt to parody baseball players. The publicity stunt was met with condemnation from baseball fans and sportswriters, some of whom called it either the "Barr-Mangled Banner" or the "Barr-Strangled Banner."[3][5]

The Padres missed capturing the National League (NL) West title by three games in 1989, a year prior to the start of Werner's tenure. Its 89–73 record was then the second best in franchise history.[3] After a pair of winning seasons with third-place finishes in 1991 and 1992,[6] they fell precipitously into the NL West cellar at 61–101 in 1993, six games behind the expansion Colorado Rockies.[7] Performing at a 47–70 pace in 1994, only a players strike prevented them from completing a second consecutive last-place berth.[8]

Critics at the time attributed this sudden free fall in the standings to cost-cutting measures ordered by Werner and his fellow investors. The fact is, with the team out of contention, the Padres did what clubs often do: trade stars with high value to clubs in contention while acquiring prospects. The so-called Fire Sale of 1993,[3] began on August 31, 1992, when Craig Lefferts was traded to the Baltimore Orioles. In the offseason, Randy Myers and Benito Santiago were allowed to become free agents, Tony Fernández and Mike Maddux were dealt to the New York Mets and Jerald Clark was selected by the Rockies in the expansion draft.[4] Gary Sheffield was sent to the Marlins on June 24, 1993, Fred McGriff was shipped to the Atlanta Braves. Bruce Hurst and Greg Harris were moved to the Rockies on July 26.[8] The trade of Darrin Jackson to the Toronto Blue Jays on March 30, 1993, resulted in a class action filed against the Padres. During the previous December, the team sent a letter to season-ticket holders assuring them that the maximum effort would be made to retain Jackson. Economic circumstances changed, however, after Jackson won a $2.1-million arbitration award in February. Refunds were offered to ticket holders involved in the lawsuit.[4][8]

While losing top stars was met with fan disapproval at the time, the trades brought, among others, Brad Ausmus (who became a Gold Glove catcher and an All-Star) and future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman, who would help the Padres reach postseason play four times, including the 1998 pennant, and who would become one of the most revered players in San Diego history.

Werner explained that the Padres lost $7 million in 1992, even though their receipt of a $12-million share of the expansion fees paid by the Rockies and Florida Marlins calculated into a $5 million profit. It was further claimed that the expansion money was used to repay part of a $20-million loan that had made the acquisition of the ballclub possible.

There was also speculation that the combined wealth of the ownership group was among the highest in the majors at the time.[4] Regardless of the owners' collective personal wealth, Werner accurately foresaw that the business's bottom line would not be able to break even in the coming years. His vision, while unpopular to fans at the time, was prescient and later validated by the City of San Diego when it affirmed that the Padres could not survive sharing Qualcomm Stadium (née: San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium) as the secondary tenant with another major league tenant. That discovery was one key reason that San Diego voters decisively approved a new ballpark (Petco Park) in 1998.

Just as important in the early '90s, the gap between large market teams and small market teams was widening due to cable television revenues that favored large markets-regardless of the success or popularity of their teams. The growing inequity based on market size would inspire Werner to take an active role, together with Milwaukee Brewers owner Allan H. (Bud) Selig and other small market owners, to revolutionize baseball's economic system. Two outgrowths of their efforts are the Wild Card, which keeps more cities in contention deeper into the season, and a new era in which MLB has enjoyed the greatest competitive balance in its history.

Werner's time as majority owner ended when John Moores acquired an 80% interest for $80 million on December 22, 1994.[9] Werner retained a 10% share in the franchise until he sold it to Moores before the start of the 2007 season.[10] In the meantime, he assembled a group that would make baseball history 3,000 miles away.

The Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group[edit]

Werner pursued the Boston Red Sox, which were for sale in 2001. Among the groups vying to purchase the storied franchise, which had not won a World Series since 1918, only Werner's sought to save venerable Fenway Park, the oldest (built in 1912) ballpark in MLB. He invited Padres President and CEO, Larry Lucchino to join the group, and then in November 2001, they invited Florida Marlins owner John W. Henry to join them, forming an ownership group with vast experience in baseball ownership, ballpark ambiance and architecture, and the blueprint for new baseball economics. Their successful purchase (with Henry as Principal Owner, Werner as Chairman, and Lucchino as President/CEO) was announced on December 20, 2001, for a reported US $660 million (plus $40 million in assumed debt).

The impact of their group was immediate. Inheriting a team steeped in dysfunction, Werner and his partners changed General Managers as their first act of business on February 28, 2002, just hours after the purchase closed at the end of business the day before. They also changed Managers, had a contending team in 2002, then an extraordinary season in 2003 that went to a dramatic seventh game of the American League Championship Series before Aaron Boone, a batter for their arch-rival New York Yankees, ended their season with an extra-innings, pennant-winning home run.

With the Red Sox-Yankees historic rivalry at an unprecedented pinnacle, Werner and his partners traded for and invested in new stars for 2004, such as starting pitcher Curt Schilling and relief star Keith Foulke. The owners' investment led to a season equally as dramatic. With the Red Sox and Yankees again playing for the pennant, the New York team held a three-games-to-none-advantage in the best-of-seven series. No team had ever come back from such a deficit to even tie such a series, much less win it.

Making baseball history and changing the culture of New England forever, Werner's Red Sox pulled off a stunning four-game streak against New York to win the pennant, then won four straight in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals to end the legendary 86-year drought. Echoes of that championship reverberated right through the 2007 World Series, which the Red Sox also won (against the Colorado Rockies). After 86 years without a World Championship, the Red Sox had won two in four years. Six years later, in 2013, they would win yet another and become the first team to win three World Series in the new millennium.

Concurrently, the ownership group fulfilled Werner's vision from the outset: saving Fenway Park. Investing $280 million over 10 years, the partnership made annual improvements that allowed the ballpark to be the first in major league history to see its 100th Anniversary (April 20, 2012).[11]

The purchase of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park were two of three parts of the partners' acquisition. Their sports investment and operations company, Fenway Sports Group, also purchased an 80% share in the New England Sports Network (NESN) from the Yawkey Family Trust, managed by John Harrington.[12]

Building on their success in each of these three properties, FSG in 2010 bought Premier League team Liverpool F.C. from lawyers acting on behalf of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the lenders to former owners George N. Gillett, Jr. and Tom Hicks. On 25 November 2010, Liverpool FC announced that Werner would replace Martin Broughton as the club's chairman beginning 1 December 2010.[13] On 26 February 2012 Liverpool won the 2012 Football League Cup Final at Wembley, London, beating Welsh side Cardiff City 3–2 on penalties after the game finished 1–1 after 90 minutes and 2–2 after extra time. This was Liverpool's first trophy since the 2006 FA Cup Final win over West Ham United on 13 May 2006 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In May 2012 he made a controversial decision by sacking manager and club icon Kenny Dalglish citing the club's poor league results. This was regarded by some as a poor decision by football experts such as BBC expert Alan Hansen given Dalglish's success in lifting the club from 4 points above the relegation zone to a cup win in just over a season. Swansea's former manager; Brendan Rodgers, filled Dalglish's boots, and has since then proved critics wrong by helping Liverpool finish 2nd in the recently concluded Barclays English Premier League and also a spot in the UEFA Champions league after 4 years.[14][15][16]

In 2014, after 24 years as an owner in Major League Baseball and with a global experience in sports, and a Television Hall of Famer, Werner was one of the two finalists to succeed Allan H. (Bud) Selig as Commissioner of Baseball after his expected retirement in January, 2015. Longtime MLB official Rob Manfred was elected. Two months later, Werner received one of the nation's highest honors, one recognizing another area of his extraordinary success: community service and philanthropy.

Community and Philanthropy[edit]

Werner is the founding Chairman of the Red Sox Foundation, the charitable arm of the Boston Red Sox that Werner and his partners created when they purchased the club. It has become the nation's largest sports team charity. The Foundation has provided more than $68 million to fund charitable causes and programs throughout New England since its inception in 2002.

Among his greatest career achievements, Werner spearheaded creation of the Home Base Program in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital. The pioneering effort that focuses on treating war veterans (and families) suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress is one of the nation's only private sector clinics dedicated to "the invisible wounds of war." Over 1,000 post 9/11 veterans and military family members from all over New England have received clinical care or support through the program. As a child, Werner had experienced such effects on his father, who had fought in World War II. On October 30, 2014, Werner received the "Outstanding Civilian Service Award" from the United States Army for his creation of the Home Base Program. The award is one of the highest honors that can bestowed upon a civilian in the United States of America.[17]

In January 2013, for his leadership and dedication to the game, Werner received the Dave Winfield Humanitarian Award from the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation at the organization's annual "In the Spirit of the Game" Sports and Entertainment Spectacular.

In November, 2011, Werner received Major League Baseball's first-ever "Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence" for the Red Sox Foundation's "Red Sox Scholars" program, which the club created and the foundation funded starting in 2003.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Television Hall of Fame Honorees: Complete List". 
  2. ^ "Owners Approve Sale of Padres," The Associated Press, Thursday, June 14, 1990.
  3. ^ a b c d Center, Bill. "The ballpark chronicles: 35 seasons with the Padres–Chapter 5: 'Barr-Strangled Banner,'" The San Diego Union-Tribune, Thursday, September 25, 2003.
  4. ^ a b c d Kurkjian, Tim. "Penny Pinchin' Padres," Sports Illustrated, March 29, 1993.
  5. ^ Distel, Dave. "Padres' Werner to Blame for Roseanne's 'Barr-Mangled Banner,'" Los Angeles Times, Saturday, July 28, 1990.
  6. ^ San Diego Padres (team history & encyclopedia) – Baseball-Reference.com.
  7. ^ 1993 National League Team Statistics and Standings – Baseball-Reference.com.
  8. ^ a b c Young, Geoff. "San Diego Padres' 1993 fire sale," The Hardball Times, Friday, September 7, 2007.
  9. ^ "BASEBALL; New Owner for Padres," The New York Times, Thursday, December 22, 1994.
  10. ^ Krasovic, Tom. "Padres Notebook: Greene says surgery only a last resort," The San Diego Union-Tribune, Saturday, February 24, 2007.
  11. ^ -http://nesn.com/2012/04/fenway-park-becomes-sports-most-iconic-venue-with-100th-anniversary-celebration/
  12. ^ Fenway Park 100 Years: Boston Red Sox Ownership, 2002–Present – MLB.com.
  13. ^ "Werner replaces Broughton as Liverpool chairman". The Washington Post. 2010-11-25. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  14. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18104266
  15. ^ http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2012/05/16/3107213/dalglishs-demise-the-latest-misjudgement-in-fsgs-liverpool-reign-
  16. ^ http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/matchday/league-table.html
  17. ^ -http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/99970354/tom-werner-to-receive-high-honor-from-united-states-army

External links[edit]