Tom Ricketts organized his life around his love of family, community and the Cubs, long before he convinced his extended family to purchase the venerable North Side franchise
Now as Chairman, he’s running a true family business that his five kids and their six cousins are growing up in, just as Ricketts and his three siblings did.
Ricketts met his wife, Cece, in the Wrigley Field bleachers. They moved to Wilmette, about two blocks from the El stop, for easy access to games.
Tall, calm and otherwise reserved during our interview, Ricketts becomes animated and joyful when talking about his kids and his hometown.
“I love Wilmette, it’s just perfect. I call it Mezzanine Suburbia,” he says. “We can bring 20 kids to a game with us on the El.”
Although Cubs games have always been special, “just playing ball in the yard” is Ricketts’ favorite thing to do with his kids.
“Whiffle ball, basketball — it doesn’t matter what we do. What’s important is just being together,” he says.
He also coaches their teams. Ricketts pulls out a printed daily schedule to demonstrate. He’s responsible for shuffling four kids to nine activities, while helping coach the Stringer Black Top Little League team.
Guiding the complex transaction that led to the Cubs purchase might have felt easier than his family’s Saturday schedule.
“I had some salesmanship to do, when I first floated the idea of buying the Cubs to my family,” he explains.
“Part of the reason we did this is that the Cubs can be a true family business. My dad founded Ameritrade and for awhile it really was a family business, too,” he says. “My mom baked cakes for all the employees’ birthdays, but it outgrew that. The Cubs won’t,” he says with a smile.
He’s also excited about the opportunity to do greater good with Cubs Care and Cubs Charities. “It just blew me away when I learned how much philanthropy they already do,” he explains.
His goal? “I want those efforts to triple,” he says.
In short, Ricketts is nurturing both his kids and our favorite North Side team with great family and community values.