As we learn the passing of Nationals’ first owner Ted Lerner, we look back at the history and moving forward

Ted Lerner left, Mark Lerner hugging Jayson Werth and Dan Kolko (center); Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

We had to do a quick edit as we learned of the passing of Ted Lerner at the age of 97. Lerner was the first owner of the Washington Nationals in mid-2006, taking over the franchise from MLB as the team relocated from Montreal. Lerner led the Nats into a constant contender in the last decade, and his son Mark took the helm in 2018 as the principal owner. Thoughts and prayers to the family.

Ted Lerner was known to most as a D.C. real estate legend with an eye for the future as the first person to conceive the indoor shopping mall concept. He had a failed attempt at trying to buy the Washington Redskins but hit a home run buying the Washington Nationals and taking the team to their first World Series championship in 2019 and the first baseball championship in the city since 1924. Lerner was actually born months after that championship, and he was eight years old the final time that Washington appeared in a World Series as the Senators lost in 1933, and it took the city 95 years between World Series wins from Walter Johnson to Stephen Strasburg.

This video perhaps says it all that it was about community for Ted Lerner.

Lerner worked as an usher as a young man at Griffith Stadium for Washington Senators’ games, and always had a love for the game. That passion could be seen in his love for bringing the farm system from barren to a bumper crop. He was reclusive in many ways from the media and the bright lights as he liked the results to tell his story. But there he was on the field each year with handing out awards to the minor leaguers every year until he passed the torch to his son Mark in 2018.

WASHINGTON, D.C. October 1, 2016: Ted Lerner (L) awarded Juan Soto with the award for the top DSL player in the Washington Nationals’ system;  (Photo by Andrew Lang for TalkNats)


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