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Tom Ricketts grew up watching the Cubs on WGN, once lived in an apartment above a bar across the street from Wrigley Field, and met his wife in the bleachers at a Cubs game. His father, J. Joe Ricketts, founded Ameritrade and became a leading online stockbroker, but Tom never worked for that company.
He was a market maker at the Chicago Board Options Exchange and finance executive before starting investment bank Incapital LLC.
"If it's true that this Tom Ricketts is a real fan, then it should be a good move, but I really wish it had been (Dallas Mavericks owner) Mark Cuban. He was passionate about it, and he really wants them to win," said Cubs fan Hope Bertram of Chicago.
If the deal is approved, the Ricketts would acquire a team that hasn't won the World Series since 1908 and hasn't even made it to the Fall Classic since 1945. While the Cubs won the NL Central in each of the last two seasons, they were swept in the first round of the playoffs both times.
Tribune Co. considered selling the team and the famous ballpark separately but rejected a plan from the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to purchase the ivy-walled stadium. Kenney said recently the two would be sold together.
Tribune Co. owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The (Baltimore) Sun, The Hartford Courant and other dailies as well as 23 television stations. It has been smothered by a drop-off in advertising and $13 billion in debt from Zell's acquisition. The company is selling off assets as it seeks to raise cash to deal with the debt.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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