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Page 2 readers' list:
Best owner in sports

From the Page2 mailbag

Poll Results

Here's how the Page 2 staff ranked the best owners in sports:

1. Pat Bowlen (Denver Broncos)
2. George Steinbrenner (New York Yankees)
3. Pat Croce (Philadelphia 76ers)
4. Paul Allen (Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Seahawks)
5. Jerry Buss (Los Angeles Lakers)
6. Michael Jordan (Washington Wizards)
7. Stanley Kroenke (Colorado Avalanche)
8. Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks)
9. Ted Turner (Atlanta Braves)
10. Wellington Mara (New York Giants)

Also receiving votes: The residents of Green Bay (Green Bay Packers), Tom Hicks (Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers), Al Davis (Oakland Raiders), George Gund (San Jose Sharks), Mike Illitch (Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers).

On Tuesday, Page 2 ran its list of the best owners in sports. We asked for your take, and you filled our mailbag with plenty of opinions.

After going through more than 800 letters, we've listed a complete rundown of the Top 10 vote-getters, along with some of the best letters about each owner. And be sure to vote in the poll at left to choose the best current owner.

1. George Steinbrenner -- New York Yankees
(98 letters)

George Steinbrenner is the best owner in sports today for one reason: He gives his team a chance to win every year by his willingness to spend money.

Most owners use their teams as money machines. When the team earns big revenues they hide the money away in their private accounts. Not George. He spends it because the more you spend the more you earn (i.e. championships and revenues).
Peter Hosein
Tampa, Fla.

I cant believe I would ever say that the Boss was the best owner in sports. I hated him and begged God for his death from 1978 until the early '90s.

Something strange happened after his second baseball suspension, I don't know if it was becoming George Costanza's boss on "Seinfeld" or being host of "Saturday Night Live," but he started growing on me.

With the hirings of Buck Showalter, Bob Watson and Joe Torre I even began to like his decisions. More recently, by stepping up with big contracts to Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter, he is rewarding the talent that has made this edition of the Yankees great.

Now when I look around at Al Davis, Peter Angelos or Rupert Murdoch, I kind of like the dictator the Yankees got. He did save the Yankees from CBS, talk about a dynasty killer.
Michael Nicholas
Portland, Ore.

George Steinbrenner
Love him or hate him, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner gets results.
"The Boss," while he has proven himself utterly incapable of keeping his grubby hands out of the Yankees' on the field activities (last time I looked, George was never a professional baseball player, coach or scout) he possesses a Lombardi-like will to win and a wallet capable of backing it up.

Unlike many owners, however, George is capable of surrounding himself with knowledgeable baseball people who get the most bang for his buck. Four world championships in the last five years has proven that much.
Geoff Clyne
Brooklyn, N.Y.

2. Mark Cuban -- Dallas Mavericks (93 letters)
Has Paul Allen's financial capacity coupled with the heated enthusiasm of a teenage fan.
M. Kohler
Vancouver, Wash.

Someone with money and a knack for hiring the right people does not make a good owner. These people are called high-end investors. A good owner requires devotion to his franchise and a willingness to do anything to make his franchise successful. This quality is found in Mark Cuban. Although he might be perceived as overzealous, his excitedness about his team is infectious and should be considered a praiseworthy quality.
Angel Cielo
Culver City, Calif.

3. Pat Croce -- Philadelphia 76ers (77 letters)
Pat Croce
Team president Pat Croce will go to any heights to promote his 76ers.
No other owner in the history of sports has ever gone to the great lengths that Pat Croce has in support of his 76ers. His enthusiasm and spontaneity resembles Dick Vitale in March.

He is a true fan who had the money and the marketing ingenuity to get where he is. Croce and Philly were made for each other.
Derek Bontya
Fieldsboro, N.J.

This is an easy one. When was the last time you saw Ol' "King George" climb the Brooklyn Bridge just to promote the his team? Croce is willing to do anything and everything to put his team on the map. The only thing he can't do is play his team's games for them. I think he may have found The Answer to that problem, though.
Marcos Benedith
New York

4. Pat Bowlen -- Denver Broncos (46 letters)
He is the best owner in sports. He was able to get the city of Denver to build his Broncos a new stadium (when even though he said that they might have to leave Denver, there was no serious threat of that ever happening). Hired Mike Shanahan, the greatest coach in the NFL today, and one of the best ever, and gave him free power to do almost anything he saw fit to make the team a winner, and he did.

He also keeps prices down, and does not charge for viewing training camp. The Broncos had three seasons of 13-3, 12-4 (Super Bowl championship), and 14-2 (Super Bowl championship), and ticket prices barely went up at all. He is the greatest owner in sports, hands down.
Alliance, Neb.

As a resident of Denver, you have got to be kidding about Pat Bowlen topping off your list. Stays out of the way? You're dreaming!

If you lived here you would understand. This guy is at every practice, meeting, etc., always trying to make a speech to the press or get his picture taken.

This is also the same guy who solely held the Super Bowl trophy himself during the victory parade without letting any of the players hoist it. He is an egomaniac! Can you imagine none of the NHL players hoisting the Stanley Cup in the parade?

He obviously has you guys fooled too.
Parker, Colo.

5. Green Bay Residents -- Green Bay Packers (37 letters)
Represents all that is good and positive in sports ... not out for the almighty buck, just in it for the love of football ... period.
Bob Beck
Laramie, Wyo.

Not only is the risk of the team leaving town virtually nil, but since the fans own team stock that will never appreciate in value, there is no owner with a "money-making incentive." The only investment is an emotional one, which more often than not, is more powerful than any monetary interest.
Christian Krautkramer
Neenah, Wis.

Nobody cares more about their team than the thousands of devoted fans who spent $200 per share on them. There is no greed. There is nothing more pure than having the public own a franchise.
Greg Wondra
Mayville, Wis.

6. Jerry Buss-- Los Angeles Lakers (33 letters)
C'mon, he got Jerry West to be general manager, who in turn took a Lakers team that was devastated by the total unforeseeable loss of Magic Johnson, and in time acquired Superman Shaquile O'Neal and out-of-high-school Kobe Bryant. Then lured Phil Jackson out of retirement to be the glue and now, look for a "threepeat" and then a dynasty.
Carlos Eger
Reno, Nev.

Without question, it has to be Dr. Jerry Buss. This man is not only a class act, he presides over the toughest team to own in sports. The athletes' egos are massive and the expectations to win are even greater. He also has a knack for making the right decision at the right time.
John J. Anania
Orlando, Fla.

7. Wellington Mara-- New York Giants (31 letters)
Wellington Mara
Wellington Mara
To him and his family, the Giants are more than just a business. The Giants are part of his family. He is patient, calm and always shows class. The majority of his players and coaches are close to him and say he is like a father figure.
James Wiegand

8. Dan Rooney -- Pittsburgh Steelers (29 letters)
Dan Rooney
Dan Rooney
His name is football. He is well-respected around the league (minus Al Davis), and he is a fair person. What other owner in sports would turn himself or herself in for cheating the salary cap?
Portland, Ore.

9. Al Davis-- Oakland Raiders (23 letters)
Al Davis: pioneer and still kicking.
Don Sylva
Fremont, Calif.

Al Davis
Al Davis doesn't evoke any wishy-washy emotions.
Only an honorable mention for Al Davis, what is up with that?

True when it comes to the politics of football he can be a "bad guy." As a football owner he is one of the best.

He was part of the AFL-NFL merger, has never once try to sell his team. (Move it, yeah. Sell it, no.)

He has hired some of the best coaches in the NFL.

He is one of the few who is hated and liked equally.
Concord, Calif.

10. Lamar Hunt-- Kansas City Chiefs (21 letters)
I can see how you folks "out east" wouldn't know what he does for Kansas City, but to ignore what he's done for pro football is just wrong.
Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City Chiefs owner (among other teams). If you gotta ask why, you'll never get it. ... Mr Hunt is, and always has been adored by Chiefs fans.

Even when they hate the coach (Marty) and the GM/president (Carl Peterson), they still love Lamar.

He tells the fans the truth, does everything he can to make their experience enjoyable (see Arrowhead Stadium). The guy simply defines class.
Mark Willard
Girard, Kan.

The man started the AFL and has done wonders for the entire league itself. Hell, the AFC championship trophy is named after him (too bad the Chiefs can't get their name on it).
Kansas City, Mo.

Honorable Mention: Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins), Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Mike Illich (Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers).

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