White Sox vice chairman Eddie Einhorn died Tuesday night in Alpine, N.J. following complications from a stroke. He was 80.
Einhorn and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf met while attending Northwestern's law school and, in 1981, purchased a controlling interest in the franchise. Einhorn served as the White Sox team president and chief operating officer from 1981-1990 and was the franchise's vice chairman from 1990-2015. He also was a member of the Chicago Bulls' board of directors.
"Eddie was a creative whirlwind whose ideas -- many of them far ahead of their time -- changed the landscape of sports, and sports on television, forever," Reinsdorf said. "He was a man of many interests, projects, ideas and opinions, and we all will miss him dearly. It is exceedingly rare in this day and age to have enjoyed a friendship and a working partnership that lasted our lifetimes. We celebrated many great moments together."
White Sox head trainer Herm Schneider, who joined the organization in 1979, remembered Einhorn fondly.
"He was an interesting man and a great man," Schneider said. "I’ve known him probably since Day 1 since Jerry and Eddie took over, the Sunshine Boys. He was an incredibly brilliant guy.
"A lot of people didn’t know how brilliant he was. He did a lot with wrestling. He did a lot with the NCAA Tournament, (which) is basically his brain child. He and I had a very special relationship with his family and my family and everything else. Very close with him. I just found out about it this morning myself from Scottie, but it really is a very sad day about that happening."
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement on Einhorn's passing.
"All of us at Major League Baseball are deeply saddened by the loss of White Sox Vice Chairman Eddie Einhorn, a leader in the world of sports and broadcasting," Manfred said. "He was a sports television pioneer and a huge champion of youth baseball. In recent years he bridged those twin passions through the National Youth Baseball Championships, which appeared on MLB Network and MLB.com.
"A proud and loyal leader of the White Sox owned by his longtime friend Jerry Reinsdorf, Eddie took delight in the franchise's momentous 2005 World Championship. Most of all, for decades Eddie was a friend to seemingly all in the baseball and broader sports communities. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Eddie's wife Ann, their daughter -- and our former colleague -- Jenny, their son Jeff, and their entire family, as well as his countless friends throughout the White Sox organization and our game as a whole."
Einhorn, while a law student at Northwestern, worked as a vendor at Comiskey Park from 1959-1960. He founded TVS Television Network, which in the 1960s and 1970s pioneered nationwide TV and radio coverage of college basketball. In 2011, Einhorn was inducted in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame for his role in growing the popularity of the sport.
During his nearly three-and-a-half decade time in baseball, Einhorn was recognized as the architect of Major League Baseball's first billion-dollar TV deal and also served the Major League Baseball Schedule Format Committee, the Professional Baseball Association Committee, Player Development Committee and Television Committee.
Einhorn is credited with helping create MLB's wild card playoff format; the Chicago Tribune's Jerome Holtzmann wrote in 1998 that "If it weren't for the acumen and foresight of White Sox Vice Chairman Eddie Einhorn, there wouldn't be a wild card."
Einhorn is survived by his wife of 53 years, Ann, daughter Jennifer (and her husband, Darryl), grandson Meyer, and son Jeff.