Reinsdorf, Jerry

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REINSDORF, JERRY (1936– ), U.S. baseball and basketball owner, the third owner in the history of North American sports to win a championship in two different sports. Born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of a sewing machine peddler, Reinsdorf graduated from George Washington University in Washington, dc, and went on to receive his law degree from Northwestern University after moving to Chicago in 1957. His first job was as a tax attorney for the irs, and then he went into private tax law practice. He made his fortune in Chicago real estate, heading up the multi-billion-dollar Balcor Corporation. Reinsdorf headed the partnership that purchased the Chicago White Sox and Comiskey Park from Bill Veeck for $19 million on January 29, 1981. He was a member of Major League Baseball's Executive Council, served as chairman of baseball's Ownership Committee, and was a member of the Long Range Planning, Restructuring, Expansion, Equal Opportunity, Strategic Planning, Legislative and Player Relations committees. Reinsdorf assumed the position of chairman of the Chicago Bulls on March 13, 1985, when he led the group that purchased controlling interest in the franchise for $16 million. During his tenure as chairman of the Bulls, the team captured six World Championships for Chicago (1991–93, 1996–98). Reinsdorf was also responsible for the construction of two new sports facilities in Chicago, Comiskey Park (1991), now U.S. Cellular Field, and the United Center (1994). Reinsdorf was the 1997 recipient of the Order of Lincoln Award, and his many contributions to the community have been recognized by such organizations as Keshet, the Interfaith Organizing Project, the American Academy of Achievement, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Trial Lawyers Club of Chicago. In addition, he is the recipient of the Chicago Park District's 1990 Chicagoan of the Year Award, the 1992 push Bridgebuilder Award, the National Italian-American Friendship Award, Northwestern University's Award of Merit, the U.S. Air Force American Spirit Award and a honorary degree in humane letters from Illinois College. Reinsdorf was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1993 and the 1997 Mayor's Medal of Honor.

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]