Saturday, July 13, 2013

Remembering George Steinbrenner July 4, 1930 - July 13, 2010

One of the most controversial figures in the history of baseball was an American businessman by the name of George Steinbrenner who owned the famed New York Yankees from 1973-2010 and, during that period of time, won seven World Series titles and eleven pennants.

Nicknamed "The Boss", Steinbrenner used a hands on approach and had a tendency to meddle, hire and fire managers several times over his successful career.

He was born in Bay Village, Ohio, his mother was an Irish immigrant and his father, a world class track and field hurdler.

George was an average student where he attended the Culver Military Academy and then received a B.A. degree from Williams College in Massachusetts.   While in college, he was the sports editor for the school newspaper.  Following his honorable discharge from the US Air Force in 1954, Steinbrenner continued his studies at Ohio State University where he earned a Masters Degree in physical education.

He joined the Kinsman Transit Company in 1957, a Great Lakes shipping company that was owned by his great grandfather and worked hard to revitalize the company.   After making the company hugely successful, he later purchased the American Shipbuilding Company and became it's executive officer and chairman.  The company had gross sales of over $100 million dollars annually.

Against his father's wishes, Steinbrenner entered the sports arena by acquiring basketball's Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League.   The league and team eventually had financial problems, however, Steinbrenner didn't give up and hired very successful people until the league folded.

Although he invested and had a keen interest in Broadway and the theatre,  Steinbrenner never gave up on his desire to own a sports team. He and a group of partners once failed to acquire the Cleveland Indians.

The Yankees had been struggling for several years while under CBS ownership that had acquired the team in 1965.   In January, 1973, Steinbrenner and minority partner, Michael Burke along with a group of investors bought the Yankees for a reported $8.8 million dollars. Over the years, Steinbrenner ruled the team with an iron fist.  He equated owning the Yankees to owning the Mona Lisa, both were masterpieces to be savored and not sold.  He once said "winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing, breathing first, winning next."  His outspokenness along with driving up players salaries made him the controversial figure he was.

From 2006 until his death, Steinbrenner spent most of his time at his home in Tampa, Florida, leaving the Yankees to be run by his sons, Hank and Hal.

Steinbrenner died on the morning of the 2010 All Star game on July 13, 2010 from a heart attack, nine days after his 80th birthday.  His estimated net worth was $1.5 billion dollars according to Forbes 400 list.  He was the first owner of a baseball team to sell Cable TV rights.

An ultraprivate funeral was held in his honor that was attended by his family and close friends at the chapel of the Trinity Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Tampa that is located about 25 minutes from the Yankees spring training complex.  The black casket bearing the "The Boss" was carried by 10 pall bearers that included George Steinbrenner's two sons.  He was laid to rest in the Steinbrenner family mausoleum located in the cemetery.  The following day, his life was publicly celebrated at Yankee stadium (program pictured) along with longtime Yankee announcer, Bob Sheppard who died two days prior to Steinbrenner.

No comments:

Post a Comment