During the 1960’s, real estate developer Jerry Wolman owned the Philadelphia Eagles, Connie Mack Stadium, and was a founding owner of the Philadelphia Flyers. He also developed the Spectrum where the Flyers and 76ers played for most of the next three decades. The man who’d been raised in an Orthodox home in Shenandoah, PA was known for his generosity to people in all walks of life.
Wolman’s successful $5.5 million bid to buy the Eagles in 1964 not only fulfilled a childhood dream, it made him the NFL’s youngest owner at 36. During that time, Wolman bought Connie Mack Stadium, leasing the ballpark back to the Phillies for next to nothing. He then became an instrumental force behind the creation of NFL Films.
The pursuit of his next venture: The Flyers. As leader of an ownership group that met the NHL’s $2 million entry fee, he guaranteed he would build a suitable rink for the new team to play in. That rink was the Spectrum. In 1967, Wolman had to relinquish his shares in the Flyers when his biggest project yet, construction of the 100-story John Hancock Center in Chicago, was halted due to a major structural flaw. Two years later he reluctantly sold his beloved Eagles to Leonard Tose for a record $16.1 million.
Wolman retreated from the sports scene after that, remaining engaged in his construction business and his family until his death in 2013 at 86.