George Argyros

Argyros was described by then-NL president A. Bartlett Giamatti as “the James Watt of baseball” (after Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior). The deforestation of the Mariners under Argyros has included the trades of such stars as Bill Caudill, Shane RawleyIvan Calderon, Danny Tartabull, Phil Bradley, and Mark Langston for a few overage catchers and minor leaguers unlikely to become major league stars. When Argyros bought the Mariners in 1981, he made himself the focus of an advertising campaign called “Playing Hardball” and promised to stamp the team with his own personality. When he sold the franchise in 1989, the Mariners had yet to have their first winning season. A friend of former Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, Argyros has led the major leagues in fiscal restraint, with the lowest salaries to go with the lowest winning percentage. Having the parsimony of a Calvin Griffith without the baseball acumen, Argyros has hired executives from his real estate and airline investments rather than baseball people. His managerial genius was best demonstrated in the 1986-87 off-season when the Mariners gave all their players salary cuts (including the few who played well), and then suggested they attend seminars on positive thinking.

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