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Sullivan inducted into team's Hall

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff March 24, 2009 05:34 PM

William H. "Billy" Sullivan Jr., the Patriots' original and longtime owner, has been inducted posthumously into the Patriots Hall of Fame, the franchise announced today.

“Billy Sullivan made professional football a reality in New England,” said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “We are celebrating the Patriots’ 50th season and all of the wonderful memories we have as fans of the Patriots. Without Billy Sullivan, the Patriots would not exist. I hope this recognition will ensure that Patriots fans never forget his contributions.”

On Nov. 16, 1959, Sullivan was awarded the eighth and final charter franchise of the American Football League. With nine other investors, he sold non-voting public stock in the franchise to raise capital to help post the franchise fee of $25,000.

In 1975, Sullivan purchased additional stock to become majority owner. In 1976, he purchased all the remaining non-voting stock in the team. He owned the Patriots through 1988, when he sold the franchise to Victor Kiam. Sullivan died Feb. 23, 1998 at age 82.

Sullivan is the first contributor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which was previously comprised of 13 players, with a 14th to be selected by fans this year. The Patriots are celebrating their 50th anniversary season through a series of acknowledgments and dedications.

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11 comments so far...
  1. Honoring Billy Sullivan in any way is disgusting. He cheated the other investors when he bought them out. He is simply a thief.

    Posted by Philip King March 24, 09 05:53 PM
  1. Classy move by Robert Kraft.

    Posted by Marima March 24, 09 06:32 PM
  1. How do you cheat investors when you multiply their original investment many times over?

    Posted by TRUTH56 March 24, 09 10:54 PM
  1. Why was he just now put in here?

    Posted by Larry March 25, 09 01:36 AM
  1. classy move: i agree

    Posted by Henry March 25, 09 07:29 AM
  1. You cheat your fellow investors when you pay them far less than their shares are worth when you force them out. They took the same risk that Sullivan did, but they did not benefit to the same degree that he did.

    Posted by Philip King March 25, 09 11:30 AM
  1. Mr Billy Sullivan loved the Patriots and I respect a lot Mr Robert Kraft for this gesture

    very very classy

    Posted by sairus March 25, 09 01:21 PM
  1. Very confused Philip King. The man started the Jimmy Fund, he deserves this recognition. Should he feel cheated by Orthwein and Kraft for benefiting more than he did because he sold at a time of no labor peace and lower TV deals? Of course not.

    Posted by truth56 March 25, 09 03:40 PM
  1. Started the Jimmy Fund? You may be thinking of Yawkey. It is easy to confuse the two disastrous owners whose names should live in infamy. But even Yawkey did not start the Jimmy Fund, and the sports team involved was the Boston Braves.
    On Billy Sullivan you should see the SI article from 1988.
    http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1067102/1/index.htm
    Two judges decided that Sullivan cheated his partners.

    Posted by Philip King March 26, 09 10:20 AM
  1. Dear Mike,

    Since I have now posted here twice a reference to a SI article about Billy Sullivan, and it has not appeared on the page, I assume you are refusing to post it.
    Could you explain to me why?

    Philip King

    Posted by Philip King March 26, 09 03:11 PM
  1. Hi Philip. Comments that include a link often end up in the junk folder without me knowing it. I saw your comment and fished it out. Thanks. The main thing I monitor here is bad language.
    --Mike

    Posted by Mike Reiss March 26, 09 03:54 PM
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