clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Nationals mourn passing of owner Theodore N. Lerner

Theodore N. Lerner - October 15, 1925 - February 13, 2023.

League Championship Series - St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals - Game Four Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

One year after the first World Series win by a D.C.-based team in 1924, Theodore N. “Ted” Lerner was born in the nation’s capital on October 15, 1925, the day the Senators lost the 1925 World Series.

Mr. Lerner was 94 years old when the Nationals, the team he became Managing Principal owner of in 2006, won the first Series since 1924 in 2019.

The club announced Monday Mr. Lerner passed away at 97 years old.

MLB 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals Parade Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“It is with great sadness that the Washington Nationals today announce the passing of Founding Managing Principal Owner, Theodore N. Lerner,” the Nationals wrote in a press release after the news came out on social media:

“From his humble beginnings as an usher in Washington D.C.’s old Griffith Stadium, to the ushering in of a new era of championship baseball in his hometown, Mr. Lerner literally and figuratively built a legacy through his signature mix of tenacity and humility. Guided by love for his family and passion for his hometown, Mr. Lerner dedicated his life to the creation of a better city and a winning ball club.”

“He created the framework that brought the 2019 World Series to the nation’s capital,” the club added, “and the championship ballclub he helped create stands as a reminder of the love he had for this great game and the passion he had for giving back to his hometown.”

Mr. Lerner’s son Mark took over as Managing Principal owner in 2018, a year before the club won it all in ‘19, and he talked at the parade celebrating their accomplishment about what it meant to his father to end the nation’s capital’s 95-year-old World Series drought, fulfilling a dream the family had when they purchased the franchise from Major League Baseball back in 2006.

“Can you believe this?” he asked rhetorically as he surveyed and spoke to the gathered crowd.

“For the first time since 1924 we brought the World Series championship back to our nation’s capital,” the younger Mr. Lerner added.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals

“We’re all thrilled that my 94-year-old father, Ted Lerner, had his dream come true, to bring a World Series championship to his hometown,” he continued.

“It was a joy to watch you play and celebrate and support one another. The true definition of team.”

“They say good things come to those who wait,” the elder Lerner said when he too spoke to the crowd. “Ninety-five years is a pretty long wait. But, I’ll tell you, this is worth the wait.”

The Nationals shared information on Mr. Lerner’s other accomplishments in life in the press release on his death:

“In addition to his many accomplishments in business and in sports, Mr. Lerner championed the creation of opportunities for all residents of the region and was instrumental in the foundation of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, which provides year-round programming and resources in one of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Mr. Lerner led by example through his family’s own private philanthropy and set the tone for the ball club’s company-wide culture of giving, which still extends into the clubhouse, front office and in the stands. He was honored with the Washington Nationals Philanthropies “Power of Baseball Award” in 2022 in recognition of the many ways he’s improved the city of Washington, D.C. and the lives of its residents.

A founding member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Mr. Lerner was awarded the Golden Plate Award of Excellence from the American Academy of Achievement in 1990. He was a member of the Washington Business Hall of Fame (2003), The George Washington University School of Business Sports Executives Hall of Fame (2007), Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington Sports Hall of Fame (2007) and Washington D.C. Sports Hall of Fame (2014). He received the Thomas G. Corcoran Award by the University Club of D.C in 2014, and in 2015 was awarded the Urban Land Institute Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, The Lerner · Cohen · Tanenbaum family received the Pollin Humanitarian Award from the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington.”

On behalf of Federal Baseball, we extend our condolences to the Lerner family on their loss.