Former MLB executive says Red Sox owner John Henry almost bought Angels instead
John Henry has owned the Boston Red Sox for nearly two decades, but he was almost the owner of a team three thousand miles away instead.
Appearing Tuesday on “The Local Hour Podcast” with Mike Ryan, ex-Florida Marlins executive David Samson revealed that Henry almost bought the then-Anaheim Angels instead of the Red Sox. Samson, who worked for Henry back when Henry still owned the Marlins, was involved in negotiations whereby Henry would sell the Marlins to the group that also owned the Montreal Expos, paving the way for Henry to purchase another MLB club.
“He wanted to buy the Los Angeles Angels, not the Boston Red Sox,” Samson said, per Rob Bradford of WEEI. “The first 70 percent of our negotiation was based on him buying the Angels. So the Angels were a deal, that was going to be the swap. Sell Montreal, buy Florida. Have him sell us Florida and then buy the Angels. He could not cut a deal on price with the Angels owner. He could not come to an agreement.
“John Henry just said, ‘No I’m not doing the deal because, A, I can’t guarantee the $138.5 [million that I invested in] the Marlins, and B, I’m not paying $500 million for the Angels,'” added Samson. “So John Henry said, ‘I will be willing to buy the Red Sox’. He just wanted a big market team. He wanted out of all small markets.”
Henry did wind up selling the Marlins to Montreal owner Jeffrey Loria, who in turn sold the Expos to Major League Baseball. Henry then purchased the Red Sox with his group New England Sports Ventures before the 2002 season and has since gone on to win four World Series titles with them. As for the Angels, they got a World Series win of their own that very same 2002 season before their ownership finally changed hands from The Walt Disney Company to businessman Arte Moreno in 2003.
While Henry has taken heat for moves the team has made recently, his tenure in Boston has obviously been a very successful one, so it all worked out nicely.