#49 - Arte Moreno, Owner
Arte Moreno wants to win and he wants to make money. After years of the franchise being treated as Jackie Autry's medium-market and Michael Eisner's corporate synergy black sheep, it is good to have a visionary marketing genius who understands investing for long-term gains and short-term thrills.
Arte Moreno might be the best thing to ever happen to this franchise.
Anyone he alienated with his marketing decision to rename the team and fight city hall was easily replaced by dozens who long for a winner.
Rob McMillin of the 6-4-2 Southern California Baseball Blog looks closer at the commander in chief:
Arturo "Arte" Moreno grew up in a two-bedroom home in Tucson, Arizona. The oldest of 11 children, he took over the family-run El Tucsonense newspaper until it ceased publication in 1966. He worked for and continues to own the parallel family printing business, Old Pueblo Printers. He enlisted in the Army during Vietnam, and served in Indochina. Upon his return, he enrolled at the University of Arizona at Tucson, where he graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing; he continues to support UA sports today.
Once out of college, he took a job selling billboard ads for Eller Outdoor, a Phoenix-based advertiser owned by Karl Eller, who "would become Moreno's mentor, boss, competitor, and, eventually, his neighbor and bitter enemy". Joining Outdoor Systems in 1984, Moreno eventually became president and CEO, parlaying the Phoenix-based billboard company into a national player, making it the largest space advertising firm in the country, principally by buying smaller companies. Selling Outdoor Systems to Infinity/CBS in 1999 netted him around $960 million from a $8.7 billion sale, instantly making him one of the country's richest men.
A longtime youth league baseball coach, in 1986 he bought the Salt Lake City Trappers, a rookie-league team, famously working the ticket booth and letting kids in for free who wore Little League jerseys to the games. Always thinking of it as a business, he became famous for showing up at owners' meetings with a legal pad and two sharpened pencils. Former Trappers GM Steve Pearson recalled that, "For some of the other guys, it was a toy. But for Arte, he always saw it as a business."
Moreno was also one of the founding partners of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He tried -- and failed -- to buy out the other investors in 2001, and then found himself opposing dilution when the team proposed adding new investors in 2002. Jose Canchola, one of the original owners of the Trappers and a subsequent Diamondbacks investor, said "I understand that when Jerry said he was looking for additional money for the team, (Moreno) pulled out a sizable check and said, you don't need those investors. Here's my money." But Moreno lost that battle, too, and was bought out for an unspecified sum; for a time, it was reported that group head Jerry Colangelo and Moreno were no longer getting along amicably, but have subsequently patched up their relations. Moreno, who is also a part owner of the Phoenix Suns, still has season tickets for the Diamondbacks.
Maybe most famous for reducing draft beer prices once he took ownership of the Angels, he also presided over two of the team's most productive -- and expensive -- offseasons in its history, years in which the club signed Vlad Guerrero, Bartolo Colon, Kelvim Escobar, Steve Finley, and Orlando Cabrera. "Losing makes me puke", he once said; with the Angels, he's mostly been able to keep down his lunch.