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Tom Hicks

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Thomas Ollis Hicks

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The owner of the Texas Rangers from 1998 to 2010, Tom Hicks made his fortune in cable television. He is infamous for giving the largest contract in baseball history to Alex Rodriguez.

In early 2007, he entered the English soccer business. Mr. Hicks also owns the Dallas Stars of the NHL, and keeps his business entities separate, according to mlb.com. Along with then-Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett, he invested in the Liverpool franchise of the English Premier League; the team's sale price was reportedly $450 million.

Hicks's business ventures suffered greatly as a result of the economic crisis that hit the United States in the fall of 2008. Short of cash, he defaulted on loans totaling $525 million and put the Rangers up for sale a few months later, eventually selling the team on January 23, 2010 for over $500 million to a consortium of business persons headed by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, whom Hicks had named team president a year earlier, and attorney Chuck Greenberg. Hicks retained a minority ownership position in the deal. However, the deal became tied up in Federal Bankruptcy Court, as Judge Michael Lynn ruled on June 22 that creditors' interests were affected by the sale, even though they stood to receive $75 million through the deal. The creditors were granted the right to vote on the deal, prompting fears that the entire sale could collapse. To avoid such an outcome, Judge Lynn ordered both sides to meet for a mediation session and extended the delay for final approval of the sale. Hicks failed to satisfy the creditors' demands, however, and announced on July 5 that he would put up the team for auction in order to get out of the impasse. The auction took place in US Federal Bankruptcy Court on August 4, with Greenberg emerging as the winner in the early hours of August 5, having defeated a rival bid from Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks. The winning bid included $385 million in cash, and the assumption of a portion of Hicks's debt to bring its total value to $593 million.

During Hicks' ownership, the Rangers made history because of Rodriguez's huge contract, but failed to translate their heavy spending into success on the playing field. Hicks moved Rodriguez's contract to the New York Yankees before the 2004 season, while still keeping responsibility for a significant part of the financial commitment. While Rodriguez was productive in his three seasons with the Rangers, Hicks was unable to find pitchers on the open market who could match A-Rod's offensive production. Most notable among the flops was Chan Ho Park, who failed to produce in spite of a 5-year, $65 million contract signed before the 2002 season; he was traded away in 2005.

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