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The Ricketts family: Baseball, politics, now soccer?

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


The Ricketts family is everywhere — or at least it feels like they are. From owning the Cubs to embarking on various political endeavors, the powerful family is trying to acquire the Chelsea Football Club in London next. 

But their bid hasn’t exactly been welcomed by all fans and players after anti-Muslim comments from patriarch Joe Ricketts resurfaced, the Associated Press reported.

This is not the first time the Ricketts’ public comments and actions have created backlash.

Joe said he believed unions promote a dynamic that “destroys the esprit de corps businesses need to succeed” before shutting down DNAinfo — the hyperlocal digital news site that he started in 2009 — as employees tried to unionize. 

Todd Ricketts, former Republican National Committee finance chair, was the subject of a property tax investigation on his Wilmette home in 2019, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said “the problem I have with you people” to a group of Black community leaders at the height of Black Lives Matters protests in 2020, NBC Sports reported. 

But the family’s influence in business and political spheres in the city and across the country cannot be overlooked: Cubs chair Tom Ricketts lobbied City Hall to allow sports betting at Chicago stadiums last year while brother Pete was signing a game expansion bill in Nebraska, Crain’s Chicago reported. 

Business, politics, and sports often mix. Need more proof? Illinois’ richest man Ken Griffin is juggling his bid with the Ricketts for the English soccer team while funding GOP gubernatorial candidate Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin.

Trivia Q: Which of the four Ricketts kids is a major Democratic supporter?
📲 Email with the correct answer, and we’ll send City Cast swag!

A multi-colored banner reading, "The future is a community project: How do you envision justice?" with the url to the Illinois Humanities' new virtual exhibit.

Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION, a virtual Illinois Humanities exhibit and activation kit that uses the arts and humanities to imagine a future without mass incarceration, is now open. The virtual exhibit features work by artists, humanists, journalists, filmmakers, poets, musicians, educators, and activists — many of whom are formerly or currently incarcerated.

The free opening reception is April 6.


▪️ The city is paying $1.67 million to five people who were dragged from their cars by Chicago cops near Brickyard Mall in May 2020. It is the city’s first significant payment to individuals who were allegedly mistreated during protests following George Floyd’s murder. [WTTW]

▪️ CPS students will not be making up the five days lost in January when the district and the Chicago Teachers Union were in a standoff over safe reopening. [Chicago Sun-Times]

▪️ Check out the city’s traffic plan for Willie Wilson’s second gas giveaway today. [Block Club Chicago]

▪️ Philanthropist Mackenzie Scott donated $17 million to Planned Parenthood of Illinois after also making donations to the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago and Habitat for Humanity Chicago. [Crain’s Chicago]

▪️ The Home Run Inn is giving away 10,000 free pizzas this year to Chicagoans in need starting today in South Lawndale.

▪️ Want a $100 Visa gift card? Fill out our newsletter survey!

▪️ An immersive Prince exhibit is coming to the Magnificent Mile this summer, and I know at least one mom of a certain newsletter writer who will be checking it out. (Hi, Ma 👋)


What was life like for you two years ago after COVID-19 shutdowns? City Cast readers and listeners told us.

💙 Reader Conor: “We were having a tough time after two miscarriages so I decided to have a full day of celebrations for my wife. … We had nice meals, including one in Chinatown since they were struggling, time outside with our greyhound Blanche, and TWO ice cream stops as well. Now, we have the best 16-month-old you could ask for.”

🏨 Reader Kathleen: “I had gone to stay at the Blackstone hotel for the weekend with my husband. He and I are now almost divorced.”

Pic 1: A black-and-white photo shows an older woman with glasses creating miniature chairs, dressers, and more. Pic 2: A plain mini bedroom depicting a crime scene.
Left: Frances Glessner Lee making one of her Nutshells. Right: A replica of Lee’s “Unpapered Bedroom” Nutshell study by miniaturist Drew Munao. (Courtesy of Glessner House)

Frances Glessner Lee was from one of Chicago’s most prominent families, living on one of the city’s wealthiest blocks — Prairie Avenue, now a historic neighborhood in the South Loop. She also basically created forensic science. 

Lee created miniature death scenes that helped police investigate crimes. From dressing the corpses to making door knobs and mouse traps that actually work, to say these recreations were detailed would be an understatement. 

🎧 Listen to Bill Tyre of the Glessner House tell us about the “Mother of Forensic Science” ahead of what would’ve been her 144th birthday.

👉 See the historical site for yourself! Book a tour.

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