White Sox Part-Owner Einhorn Dies

Eddie Einhorn, who joined with Northwestern law school classmate Jerry Reinsdorf in purchasing a controlling interest in the White Sox in 1981, died Wednesday. He was 80.

Einhorn, a native of Paterson, N.J., died in Alpine, N.J. His wife told NorthJersey.com that he died of complications of a stroke.

Einhorn was recognized as the architect of baseball’s first billion-dollar television contract, as he was instrumental in negotiating Major League Baseball’s 1990 deal with CBS and ESPN.

“Eddie was a creative whirlwind whose ideas—many of them far ahead of their time—changed the landscape of sports, and sports on television, forever,” Reinsdorf said in a statement. “He was a man of many interests, projects, ideas and opinions, and we all will miss him dearly. It is exceedingly rare in this day and age to have enjoyed a friendship and a working partnership that lasted our lifetimes. We celebrated many great moments together.”

While Reinsdorf was the much-more public face of the White Sox—and the Chicago Bulls, which he also owned and for which Einhorn served on the board of directors—Einhorn stayed out of the spotlight.

“He loved sports,” Jeff Einhorn told NorthJersey.com, “but his love of sports was best expressed behind the scenes.”

Einhorn was the founder and chairman of TVS Television Network, which trailblazed the way for sports programming. TVS’ broadcast of the  “Game of the Century” between Houston and UCLA—and Lew Alcindor and Elvin Hayes—from the Astrodome in 1968 is credited for the growth in popularity of college basketball on television.

“All of us at Major League Baseball are deeply saddened by the loss …” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “He was a sports pioneer and a huge champion of youth baseball.”

Einhorn was outspoken on some baseball issues, telling Baseball America in 1984 that farm systems had become obsolete.

“It’s an antiquated system we cannot afford. We’re taking 17-year-old kids with no real chance to make the majors just because we have to have them play catch with a few guys who do … we’re taking away their chances to go to college and get on with their lives. We’d be doing a social service by getting rid of the farm system as we know it.”

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