John Henry began creating a sports empire after making a fortune from his trading company, J.W. Henry & Co., in the early 1980s.
Despite being in his 18th season as the Boston Red Sox‘s principal owner, John W. Henry’s relationship with baseball hasn’t altered much since he was a little boy growing up in a small town in Arkansas and listening to games on a Zenith short-wave radio.
He declared, “I definitely identify with the fans since I’ve been one my entire life.” Additionally, he became aware of the mandate he had inherited on December 20, 2001, when an investment group headed by Mr. Henry and Tom Werner purchased the Red Sox.
Red Sox Ownership: John Henry’s Road to Fenway Park
A Glance at Mr. Henry’s Life
John Henry was born in Quincy, Illinois, on September 13, 1949.
Mr. Henry was raised on the family farm near Forrest City, Arkansas, where his father grew soybeans, corn, and wheat. Mr. Henry was nine years old when he attended his first Major League Baseball game at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, the place where he would watch his own Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2004.
Mr. Henry was a lifelong Cardinals fan who grew up listening to Harry Caray, Jack Buck, and Joe Garagiola on the radio.
Years later, he founded the global sports marketing, media, entertainment, and real estate firm Fenway Sports Group (FSG) in which the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are three-storied organizations that serve as the foundation of the firm.
He oversees all three teams in addition to acting as director of NASCAR’s RFK Racing, in which FSG has a 50% ownership interest.
Mr. Henry and his partner Dave Kaemmer established iRacing.com outside of the Fenway Sports Group in 2004. Since then, it has developed into the world’s leading motorsport simulation web, featuring more racing disciplines than any other online platform.
The Biggest Red Sox Fan
Since the Red Sox organization went 86 years without winning baseball’s top prize, starting in 1918, the Henry-Werner ownership group has earned a special position in Red Sox history with four World Series victories in a 15-season span (2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018).
The Red Sox broke the club record of 105 games won in the regular season set in 1912, the year Fenway Park debuted, by winning 108 games in 2018. In fact, the Red Sox’s 2018 campaign was their most successful ever after adding 11 additional victories in the postseason on the way to their ninth World Championship.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Henry claims that, in some ways, he is the owner through proxy. He claims that the real owners are the Red Sox supporters who live in New England and are dispersed around the nation and the world in sufficient numbers to be called “Red Sox Nation.”
He sees himself as the steward of this beloved baseball team, whose duties include producing a product of championship caliber on the field as well as being an active and dedicated part of the neighborhood.
During an interview with Forbes, Mr. Henry said, “I love to listen to and interact with fans… Perhaps not every fan can identify with me, but I think I can identify with most of them because I’ve been a passionate baseball fan all my life. I know that even the best baseball team cannot win every night, but I want to make sure our fans win every night – that they enjoy as many aspects of our game, our tradition, and the Fenway experience as they can.”