The Hunt For October: Tom Clancy And American Professional Sports

  • Jake O'Donnell

The American literary world (and film world) lost an icon today, as world renowned author Tom Clancy passed away at the age of 66. How does this relate to sports? Well, for starters, he owned a huge chunk of the Baltimore Orioles for the last 20 years. How much? Well, at one point, his stake was close to 25%. (A divorce forced him to split his shares with ex-wife Wanda.)

The Baltimore franchise released this statement regarding the unexpected loss of their longtime executive:

[Via]For decades, Tom Clancy entertained millions with his novels and enjoyed producing no fewer than seventeen best-sellers. He was an extraordinary storyteller who had an ability to keep readers on the edge of their seats. His passion for the military was evident in his efforts to ensure that the men and women who serve our country were properly recognized for their service and commitment.

While he achieved international acclaim as a celebrated author, Tom, a proud Baltimorean, was a devoted Marylander, a treasured friend, and a valued partner and advisor in the Orioles ownership group. He was a regular presence at Oriole Park and enjoyed talking about baseball, the ballclub and its operations.

We are deeply saddened by Tom’s passing. He will be missed but long remembered.

On behalf of the Orioles, we extend our sympathies to his family.

His connection with professional sports doesn’t end in Baltimore, though. In fact, he almost bought the Vikings in 1998, but because of the aforementioned divorce, backed out at the last minute ($200M is a lot to spend when you’re losing half of your stuff).

[Via The Minneapolis Star Tribune] In 1998, the NFL disapproved of the team’s splintered ownership structure and was pushing for the team to be sold. Up stepped Clancy at a big news conference at the Minneapolis Club, with lots of enthusiasm, star appeal and a pledge to keep the team in Minnesota.

Didn’t think authors bought sports teams? Well, most authors don’t amass a rumored $300 million net worth by writing three novels that eventually go on to become blockbuster movies (and a popular video game franchise).