Tom Clancy, acclaimed novelist, passed away in a Baltimore hospital on Wednesday at the age of 66. He will always be remembered for his work in politically-charged literary thrillers, penning such best-sellers as The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Red Storm Rising, The Sum of all Fears, Clear and Present Danger and Without Remorse.
A number of his books were made into big-budget Hollywood blockbusters, his name was attached to video games and he even dabbled in the sports ownership business.
In fact, he boasted a minority investment in the Baltimore Orioles as part of Peter Angelos’ ownership group in 1993 – but that was only slim pickings compared to his goals with the Minnesota Vikings.
By putting $200 million on the table, the novelist had submitted the winning bid for the franchise in 1998. However, the bid was pending the approval of the league. A divorce between him and college sweetheart Wanda Thomas (whom he had four children with) was enough of a cause for concern that the team was eventually sold to Texas businessman Red McCombs for $250 million in July 1998 instead.
The sale to a Texan must have felt incredibly ironic to Clancy. Besides the divorce, one of the biggest reasons why the team was kept from him was because it was feared his purchasing group included current Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander.
Houston had only just recently lost its Oilers to Tennessee, and it was believed he might try to move the Vikings south – an idea Clancy thought preposterous.
“I’m not moving the Vikings to Texas. It has the worst climate in America. My name is not Irsay, it’s Clancy,” Clancy told the Baltimore Sun in May 1998. “This is another case of reporter fiction. It’s published and all of a sudden, there’s a controversy.”
Clancy was referring to Robert Irsay, who moved the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis in the middle of the night.
It was a great zinger then from a man who will be greatly missed now.