William Bartholomay

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William C. Bartholomay (born August 11, 1928) is a Chicago executive who made his living in the insurance industry. In November 1962 at age 34, he was the leader of a consortium who bought the Milwaukee Braves, a National League baseball franchise, from Lou Perini of Boston.[1][2][3]

Despite the Braves success in Milwaukee, where the team had set league attendance records during the 1950s, Bartholomay was intent on moving the team to Atlanta, a growing regional center, where there was more television revenue, and where the new, 52,000-seat Fulton County Stadium had recently been built. Furthermore, Bill was an innovator and wanted to be the first man to bring a baseball team to the Deep South. He worked with many social leaders to help attain his dream. After an extended legal battle with Milwaukee that kept the Braves in Milwaukee through the 1965 season, the National League agreed to the shift to Atlanta. The case ultimately led to baseball's guidelines on local ownership.[4]

In 1976, he was approached by a friend, Ted Turner. Bill and Ted knew a baseball team and network deal would be a good way to market the Atlanta Braves on a national scale and provided programing for Ted Turner's developing network. Bartholomay agreed, and sold the controlling interest of the Braves to Turner of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., and owner of CNN, while retaining his interest as Chairman.[5]

Bartholomay is a Life Trustee of Illinois Institute of Technology.


  1. ^ Thisted, Red (November 17, 1962). "McHale, six others buy Braves for $5.5 million". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 1. 
  2. ^ Wolf, Bob (November 17, 1962). "Midwestern group purchases Braves". Milwaukee Journal. p. 1, part 1. 
  3. ^ "Perini sells Braves to Milwaukee group". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. November 17, 1962. p. 11. 
  4. ^ Quirk, Charles E. (1999). Sports and the law: major legal cases. Taylor & Francis. pp. 221–224. ISBN 978-0-8153-3324-1. 
  5. ^ Jozsa, Frank P. (2003). American sports empire: how the leagues breed success. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-56720-559-6. 
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