Jerry Reinsdorf begins his 39th season as chairman of the Chicago White Sox in 2019, having surpassed club founder Charles Comiskey (1900-31) for the longest ownership tenure in franchise history. During his time as chairman of the White Sox, Reinsdorf’s two professional sports teams – the Sox and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls – have delivered seven World Championship titles to the city of Chicago and its fans. Reinsdorf accepted the Commissioner’s Trophy from Bud Selig on October 26, 2005, after the White Sox swept their way to the team’s first World Series Championship since 1917. The championship was celebrated by a ticker-tape parade attended by nearly 2 million Chicagoans.
The White Sox have reached the postseason five times during Reinsdorf’s tenure, most recently in 2008 when they captured the American League Central Division title in a one-game playoff.
The Sox also claimed division titles in 1983, 1993, 2000 and 2005. Every one of the club’s Top 20 single-season attendance totals have come since 1981, including a franchise-record 2.95 million fans in 2006.
Reinsdorf and the White Sox have received four prestigious honors in recognition of the franchise’s ongoing commitment to giving back to the community. In June 2011, Reinsdorf traveled to Washington D.C. to accept the Jefferson Award, one of the nation’s top honors for community service and volunteerism, known as the “Nobel Prize for Public Service.”
In August 2011, Reinsdorf received the Barnes and Thornburg Jackie Robinson Award for diversity in the workplace, and in November 2011, Reinsdorf and the White Sox were honored by Commissioner Bud Selig with the Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence for the club’s Volunteer Corps.
In September 2012, Reinsdorf and the White Sox were again recognized nationally, receiving the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in sports philanthropy for the team’s Volunteer Corps program. Reinsdorf’s life-long support for charitable and community organizations has resulted in numerous other awards and recognitions.
In response to President Barack Obama’s call to service in 2009, Reinsdorf and the White Sox created the White Sox Volunteer Corps to support the Chicagoland community through service.
The Corps, now consisting of staff, players and nearly 5,000 fan volunteers, has mobilized to provide more than 45,000 hours of community service with an estimated value of close to $1 million during its decade of existence, including work renovating Chicago Public Schools, remodeling local Boys & Girls Clubs and donating time at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Both of Reinsdorf’s sports franchises have donated millions of dollars to causes in the Chicago community through a variety of efforts, including Chicago White Sox Charities and Chicago Bulls Charities. Chicago White Sox Charities has donated more than $22 million to Chicagoland organizations in the past 10 years, moving the team’s non-profit arm to nearly $32 million in cumulative giving since its inception. In 2015, the Chicago Bulls received honors as the inaugural ESPN Sports Humanitarian
Team of the Year, and in 2017, the White Sox were finalists for the same award, which celebrates and recognizes how members of the sports industry use sport to serve their communities and make a positive impact.
In December 2017, owners for five Chicago sports teams – the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox – joined together as the Chicago Sports Alliance to donate $1 million to the UChicago Crime Lab and two other programs in an ongoing effort to support solutions to address the violence that plagues some neighborhoods in Chicago.
In 2019, the White Sox will host the 12th annual “Double Duty Classic,” a high school baseball All-Star Game featuring many of the nation’s top inner-city baseball players. The Classic, named for Negro League great Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, celebrates the community’s pride in the Negro League East-West All-Star Games, held annually at Comiskey Park in Chicago from the 1930s until the 1960s, while a symposium before the game teaches players about the game’s history and importance.
Reinsdorf and the White Sox created the Amateur City Elite (ACE) youth baseball program in 2007. Sponsored by Chicago White Sox Charities, ACE provides urban-based and largely minority youth the opportunity to play in a high-quality travel baseball program. In its 12 years, 20 ACE players have been drafted, while over 190 have signed scholarships to play college baseball. ACE alums have won NCAA Championships and have been drafted as high as the first round (fifth pick overall).
In recognition of his life-long commitment to promoting diversity, Reinsdorf’s White Sox hosted Major League Baseball’s 2013Diversity Summit in Chicago, and the franchise also was chosen to host the annual Civil Rights Game and Beacon Awards Luncheon in August 2014.
Reinsdorf has been responsible for the construction of four new sports facilities in Chicago. In addition to the building of new Comiskey Park (1991), Reinsdorf initiated construction of three other major facilities for the Bulls. The United Center, home for the Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, opened for the 1994-95 season, the Sheri L. Berto Center served as the Bulls training facility from 1992-2014, and the Advocate Center, which opened in 2014 and now serves as the Bulls practice and training facility in downtown Chicago. The White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers also opened a state-of-the-art spring training complex, named Camelback Ranch — Glendale, in 2009.
For much of the past 16 years, Reinsdorf, the White Sox and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority have undertaken dramatic off season renovations to Guaranteed Rate Field with the goal of improving the ballpark experience for White Sox fans. In 2016, three new, state-of-the-art video boards were installed in the ballpark, and the team added “The Goose Island,” an innovative
seating area in right field, in 2019.
Since heading the limited partnership that purchased the White Sox in January 1981, Reinsdorf has been involved in Major League Baseball initiatives at an industry-wide level. Currently, he serves on the Commissioner’s Executive Council. In the past, he has served on many other committees, including Player Relations, Relocation, Ownership & Legislative, Business and Media Board and Long-Range Labor Planning.
He was instrumental in the formation of the Diverse Business Partners (DBP) Program in 1998, and Major League Baseball honored Reinsdorf and the White Sox with the Club Appreciation Award in 2018 to celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary.
Over the past 20 years, Major League Baseball and its clubs have purchased hundreds of millions of dollars in goods and services from minority and women-owned businesses, and the White Sox annually rank among baseball’s leaders in the DBP program. In 2008, his long history of donating time to Major League Baseball led to Reinsdorf being asked to serve on the Board of The Baseball Hall of Fame. White Sox great Frank Thomas and former manager Tony La Russa were inducted as members of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, former White Sox Tim Raines in 2017, Sox Special Assistant Jim Thome in 2018, and Harold Baines is set to be inducted this July.
Reinsdorf expanded his involvement in professional sports in March 1985 by purchasing controlling interest in the Chicago Bulls. During his tenure as chairman of the Bulls – the third-longest in the NBA – the team has captured six World Championships (1991-93, ’96-98). Reinsdorf was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 in Springfield, Mass., becoming the 10th NBA owner to be honored.
Reinsdorf has played a critical role in the development of the west side area surrounding the United Center and was responsible for introducing an innovative reading program to the Chicago Public Schools. Through the Chicago Bulls/Sox Training Academy, which opened in 2001, and outreach efforts such as White Sox Training Centers and Chicago Bulls Basketball Schools, Reinsdorf’s franchises promote sports to thousands of youth each year while instilling a love of the game in future fans.
Reinsdorf’s Silver Chalice Ventures, formed in 2009, joined with Sinclair Broadcast Group, MLB, the NHL, the PGA TOUR and Meredith Corp. in 2017 to launch Stadium, a 24/7 multiplatform sports network available across the country.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on February 25, 1936, Reinsdorf graduated from George Washington University in Washington D.C. and earned a law degree from Northwestern University after moving to Chicago in 1957. Reinsdorf and his wife, Martyl, have three surviving children and nine grandchildren.