Mike Ilitch 1929 – 2017

In what’s been a crazy week of baseball owners news, the game lost one of it’s best on Friday. Mike Ilitch died at the age of 87.

Mike Ilitch owned the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings. He started Little Caesars Pizza in 1959 and built it into an empire. But to me, the way he allowed the Tigers to be ran and operated was something any Detroit fan can hold their head high about.

Never shying away from adding payroll or trying to make one more run, Ilitch kept the Tigers core together until the end of his life trying to win a World Series title that eluded them; but since his ownership of the Tigers began he sent them on five postseason runs and saw the construction of Comerica Park in 2000.

His Detroit Red Wings won four Stanley Cups under his ownership and made the playoffs 25 straight years.

He was a lifelong Detroit guy and self-made. He wasn’t high-profile and operated quietly behind the scenes. He was what a baseball owner should be: loose purse strings, low-maintenance, truly committed to winning. You have to respect that as a fan of the sport.