Monday, Aug. 22, 2005

Arturo Moreno

Roberto clemente. Pedro Martinez. Alex Rodriguez. The list of great Latino players who have graced the national pastime is longer than an extra-inning game in August. But no Latino has ever really called the shots in baseball. Until Arte. Billionaire Arturo (Arte) Moreno, a fourth-generation Mexican American, not only is the first Latino team owner in major U.S. sports but also is changing the rules of the game. After buying the Anaheim Angels from Disney two years ago, Moreno lowered ticket and concession prices. But he didn't pinch pennies on the field. Instead, Moreno signed the best free agent on the market, outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, to a $70 million contract. The result: the fan-friendly Angels made the play-offs in 2004 and drew a team record 3.4 million spectators to Angels Stadium. For most of this season, the team, which Moreno renamed the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to expand its reach beyond Orange County, has been in first place. "It's one thing to have the means to buy a baseball team," says Moreno, 59. "But more important, do you really respect the opportunity?"

The oldest of 11 children raised in a two-bedroom home in Tucson, Ariz., Moreno as CEO and co-owner built a small Phoenix firm, Outdoor Systems, into the country's largest billboard-advertising company. Infinity (now part of Viacom) bought the firm in 1999 for $8.3 billion, and Moreno walked away with a windfall. What's next for the Angels' owner? "A lot of people talk about getting to the World Series," he says. "All I want is to win one."