As one of America’s favorite sporting events, Major League Baseball (MLB) is often subject to lively debates on matters such as the different things that impact a team’s success.

From strong starting pitching or a deep bullpen to a solid defensive squad or a balanced hitting lineup, there’s all sorts to consider. But what about the argument that ‘it all starts at the top’?

Well, today, we’re going to be trying to get to the bottom of just that, and discover who’s doing it best by compiling our very own index to uncover the most and least successful MLB owners.

As part of this, we’ve looked at a number of relevant factors, such as playoff appearances, yearly salary spend, and owner sentiment. Just keep on reading to see where your team’s owner lands on our list!


Most successful MLB owners

Starting off strong with a total index score of 3.95 out of 5 is the Los Angeles Dodgers’, Mark Walters. This score is largely due to having the highest increase in franchise value between 2020-2024 of 51%, along with a 66% winning rate of games played between 2019-2023, the highest of all the MLB teams. Having owned the team since 2012, Mark Walters has seen them go on to win one World Series title in 2020 and appear in five playoffs since 2019.

Just behind and taking the second top spot in our index scoring 3.65 is Atlanta Braves Holdings Inc who, as you might have guessed, own the Atlanta Braves MLB team. Not only does the team have the second highest franchise value increase of 47% since 2020, but they also rank joint top for winning rate (60%) and playoff appearances (5) between 2019-2023.

Next up in third is New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, with a total score of 3.44. Since taking over ownership of the team in 2007, Steinbrenner has seen them go on to achieve one World Series title in 2009.

Following in his dad’s, George Steinbrenner’s, footsteps, Hal has clearly invested heavily in the team, with the team’s combined yearly salary spend coming in at a whopping $305,444,574, the second highest in our index. Luckily, this does appear to be paying off, with the team also boasting a strong winning rate of 58%. However, despite ranking as the fourth most successful MLB owner, Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t appear to be too popular online given that he has the third lowest owner sentiment in our index at just 5%.

Scoring 3.29 is the owner and chairman of the Houston Astros, Jim Crane. Since the start of his ownership in 2011, the MLB team has gone on to win two World Series championships in 2017 and 2022. This isn’t too surprising considering that between 2019-2023 the team’s winning rate was an impressive 60%, along with five playoff appearances. Whilst the franchise hasn’t seen as big of an increase in value since 2020 compared to other teams in our index (28%), they’re clearly still achieving success. This may be aided by the fact that the team’s yearly salary totals $249,515,241.

Rounding out the top five, we have William DeWitt Jr., owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, thanks to scoring 2.94 in our index. Having bought the team in 1995, this means DeWitt has owned his team the longest out of all of our top five MLB owners. During this time, he’s gone on to help his team win two World Series, in 2006 and 2011, respectively.

This may also help to explain why he has such a positive reputation online with an owner sentiment score of 38%, the second highest in our index. Some other factors that have helped him land a position among our most successful MLB owners include a pretty strong winning rate between 2019-2023 of 53%, during which time the team also made four playoff appearances.

Least successful MLB owners

Managing to score just 0.40 in our index, it’s not looking good for Robert Nutting, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates since 2007. Between 2019 and 2023, their winning rate was only 41%, which is probably not helped by the fact that they’ve got the second lowest yearly salary spend of all 30 MLB teams at just $83,272,737 for the 2024 season. Taking this into consideration, it’s probably not a shock to learn that the franchise value has increased by only 2% since 2020.

Another MLB owner who lands a spot at the bottom of our index due to a score of 0.63 is Lerner Enterprises, which originally purchased the Washington Nationals in 2006. Reasons causing Lerner Enterprises to take up this spot include a low franchise value change of just 5%, followed by a below average winning rate of just 44%. It’s not all bad, though, as the team did manage to secure their first ever World Series championship in 2019 against the Houston Astros. So, it appears as though things might be starting to go in their favor.

Not too far behind, scoring 0.66 is John Sherman, who became the majority owner of the Kansas City Royals in 2019. Unfortunately, looking back at the team’s performance since then, their winning rate stands at just 40%, the lowest out of all 30 MLB teams. Not only that, but the fact that they’re also one of five MLB teams to have not made a playoff appearance since 2019 – the others being Pittsburgh pirates, Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies, and the Los Angeles Angels - has all led to Sherman taking a spot in our bottom five.

According to our research, the fourth spot goes to Christopher Ilitch, who took over leadership of the Detroit Tigers from his dad in 2017, managing to score only 0.74 in our index. With the second-lowest winning rate of 41%, joint with the Pittsburgh Pirates, it’s not been the strongest few years for the Tigers. That combined with only a 12% increase in franchise value, it makes sense to see Ilitch rank so low in our index.

Last but not least, with an index score of 0.96, is the owner of the Oakland Athletics team, John J. Fisher, who has been majority owner since 2005 but took full ownership in 2016. Interestingly, during this time, the team has managed to win four West Division titles in 2006, 2012, 2013, and 2020.

However, this doesn’t help the reality that, of all the MLB owners on our list, John J. Fisher scores the third lowest for online sentiment at 5%. Perhaps this is due to the debate surrounding his decision to try and relocate the team from Oakland, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada? Then there’s also the fact that the yearly salary spend is the lowest out of all the teams at only $61,940,043, and that the franchise value of the team has increased by only 9% since 2020.


This campaign looks at the most effective MLB owners. To do this, 5 different factors were used. Once the data for the factors was collected, the factors were then normalized, to provide each factor with a score between 0 and 1. If data was not available, a score of 0 was given. The normalized values were then summed, to give each location a total score out of 5. The owners were then ranked from highest to lowest, based on their total scores. 

The factors used are as follows:

  • Franchise Value Change % - The % increase in the value of the franchise between 2020 and 2024.
  • Winning % - The % of games played between 2019 and 2023 that resulted in a win.
  • Playoff Appearances - The number of times each MLB team reached the postseason between 2019 and 2023.
  • Yearly Salary Spend - The combined payroll salaries for all players on the active, injured, and reserve lists, for the 2024 season, in USD.
  • Owner Sentiment - The percentage of social media posts that were positive about the owner of each MLB team, between 01/04/2023 and 31/03/2024, according to BrandWatch.

All factors were indexed with high values giving a high score, and low values giving a low score. All data is correct as of 03/04/2024. The ranking data shown is a compilation of multiple data sources and may not be representative of real life. All data is accurate with regards to the sources provided.

Note that Baltimore Orioles's new owner took over in January 2024.