The John Henry I Know

Donny Mahoney
By Donny Mahoney
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I’m a Red Sox fan. John Henry helped transform the Red Sox. I don’t think he can do the same for Liverpool, but it could be worse.

First, the sketchy side. Henry once owned the lowly Florida Marlins and essentially dumped them to buy the Red Sox in 2002. Major League Baseball had to do some wheeling and dealing to make this transaction happen, and one wonders why it was allowed to take place at all. Anyway, when John Henry bought the Boston Red Sox, the Sox were a team locked in perpetual mediocrity and haunted by their own miserable history. Henry brought money and he brought a fresh approach. You have to spend to compete with the Yankees and he dropped millions on players. But he made some bold appointments behind the scenes, most notably appointing Theo Epstein, then in his early 30’s, to be the team’s general manager. Also, Henry helped to re-energise Fenway Park, adding a couple thousand new seats, including the Monster seats, and absorbing the streets around the ballpark into the Fenway experience. He wasn’t afraid of confronting his players either, and even had mercurial star Manny Ramirez over at his mansion for the weekend once.

Whether or not this history will have any bearing on Henry’s proposed ownership of Liverpool, I don’t know. I can say this though: there are far worse owners in US sport. In ten years, the Red Sox have been completely transformed into one of the marquee franchises in US sport and I’m sure that John Henry considers himself somewhat responsible.



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