How much did he hold the attention of the Boston sports fan?
Fans mostly turn to Henry during baseball's offseason, hoping he's got a sizable amount of cash in hand and an eye on the next big signee. But as a front-office man, Henry stays relatively behind the scenes and tends not to make a splash unless an organizational change is made. But when Henry's company, New England Venture Sports, purchased England's Liverpool F.C., he was front and center. There are other aspects of Henry's existence that makes him unique, dating back to shaving his eyebrows as a young musician, to having love letters to his then-fiance published for a magazine story, or even running around the Fenway Park bases after becoming the Red Sox' principal owner.
How big was his impact for the team/organization?
I think we can all agree that without John Henry, the Red Sox organization would not have had nearly as much success in this past decade. Henry and Tom Werner, chairman of the Red Sox, brought in Larry Lucchino to form a front-office trio that had the immediate goal of a World Series title, which they achieved in 2004. In 2007, Henry's Sox defeated a team in the World Series in which he had a large role in pre-expansion involvement - the Rockies.
How much would he be missed if he wasn't here?
Simply put: a lot. Despite not being in the Boston athletic spotlight too often, there aren't many owners in professional sports who have as much knowledge of the game as Henry does. He has a knack for realizing the team's needs, and does a nice job of working to fill those spaces.
How much buzz does he create around the water cooler?
Typically sports fans don't gather around a table and discuss how great they're favorite investor's latest business transaction was. From the business standpoint, Henry doesn't create much buzz during the season. But his name will surface many times over the course of the year when the Red Sox need a boost the most, and Henry is the man to provide it. He grabbed the global spotlight with his purchase of Liverpool F.C. this Fall for $300 million. Henry is a familiar name among racing fans as well, as he is a 50 percent owner of Roush Fenway Racing. In 2009, under Henry and co-owner Jack Roush, Matt Kenseth won the Daytona 500. But during the baseball offseason is when Henry and Executive VP Theo Epstein thrive, and we all know it. There are also the occasional incidents where Henry makes his presence felt, such as Tweeting 'The MT Curse?' in regard to Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, or stating that the Red Sox needed a "miracle" to make the playoffs in the midst of the 2010 campaign.
How much emotion does he evoke at the mere mention of his name?
It depends on which side of the argument you're on; but either way, fans tend to formulate opinions on Mr. Henry regardless. There are plenty of fans that wish Henry didn't break out the checkbook on a few big acquisitions the Red Sox have made over the past few years. And there are those that would like to see the owner dig deeper into his pockets to match an offer for a big-name player and rival that of the Steinbrenner's of the Evil Empire. Either way, John Henry owns one of the nation's most prominent and marketed teams. The Red Sox are much more than a ball club; they are a lifestyle for many. The man that owns this organization also owns a piece of every fan's heart.
How polarizing is he to the city?
As it is with most owners in professional sports, Henry is certainly a polarizing person. The city either loves him or it hates him, as demonstrated by the numerous callers in to WEEI detailing the varying opinions on the latest transactions. One thing that Red Sox fans forget is that Henry was a part owner of the Yankees in 1991, his first purchase of small interest in Major League Baseball. But what shows that Henry is a true baseball aficionado and a proven winner was his purchase of the Florida Marlins franchise in 1999, which, with the help of Henry (who had sold the club the year before in 2002), was turned into a World Series champion team in 2003. By then, Henry was the principal owner of the Red Sox. The fact that he brought two World Series championships to a city dehydrated from an 86-year title drought is enough to win at least a majority of Boston fans over.
How polarizing is he to his team?
John Henry does one thing that the team and personnel all like very much: sign paychecks. The best way to keep the players and coaches happy is for the front office to continue bringing in players that will help the organization grow, and ultimately bring in championships. Before John Henry, Red Sox management wanted to build a new Fenway Park an only preserve bits and pieces of the historic stadium, built in 1912. When the purchase of the club was made, Henry vowed that the owners would be committed to preserving the integrity of the Boston landmark. Ownership invested enough money to add 250 seats atop the Green Monster, along with additional seats on top of the right field roof. John Henry has continued to make his mark all over the franchise that draws fans from not just the New England area, but all over the country as well, for the past eight years.
Red Sox owner John Henry joined the annual Dale and Holley Owners Series the day after the Sox clinched a spot in the 2008 Playoffs..
John Henry spoke with Dale and Michael about the Sox being in the World Series for the second time under his ownership.
John Henry joins the Big Show to talk about Daisuke Matsusaka and the current state of the Red Sox off-season