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Jack Kent Cooke

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Cooke and a Maple Leafs baseball player.

Jack Kent Cooke

[edit] Biographical Information

Jack Kent Cooke was a Canadian businessman who tried to bring Major League Baseball to Toronto, ON in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was the owner of the AAA Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League, acquiring the club in 1951. Cooke was named minor league executive of the year by The Sporting News in 1952.

Cooke in the white suit and his wife Jean in the stands at Maple Leaf Stadium, about 1955.

Cooke got his start selling encyclopedias door to door, and later sold soap in northern Ontario. He was also a runner on the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange. He later met Roy Thompson, who would hire him to run a radio station. The two would later become partners and purchase several radio stations and newspapers in Ontario and Quebec.

Having a minor league team under his belt, Cooke tried to purchase a Big League team and bring it to Toronto. At various times, he attempted to purchase the St. Louis Browns, Philadelphia Athletics, and Detroit Tigers, but was unsuccessful. He became one of the founding team owners in the short-lived Continental League, but the league disbanded a year later without ever having played a game. Cooke sold the Maple Leafs in 1964. He later moved to the United States and owned the Washington Redskins of the National Football League, the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League.

He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

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