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Thread: George Steinbrenner - Dead at 80

  1. #1
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    Default George Steinbrenner - Dead at 80

    Steinbrenner had a massive heart attack sometime Monday night.

    He has passed away.
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    Default Re: George Steinbrenner - Dead at 80

    Steinbrenner dies from heart attack

    'Boss' rejuvenated Yankees, saw them win seven titles

    By Bryan Hoch /
    07/13/10 9:50 AM ET

    George M. Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the New York Yankees since 1973, died Tuesday, reportedly after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 80.

    The Steinbrenner family confirmed his death in a statement issued by the Yankees.

    Steinbrenner was the longest tenured owner in Major League Baseball. Through his purchase of the Yankees, Steinbrenner became one of the game's best-known personalities; a demanding type who earned the long-standing nickname, "The Boss."

    He had endured a pair of public health scares in recent years, limiting his public commentary mostly to statements released through publicist Howard Rubenstein.
    In October 2006, Steinbrenner fainted while attending his granddaughter's play in Chapel Hill, N.C., and was removed by paramedics; he also fainted at a memorial service for football player Otto Graham in Sarasota, Fla. in December 2003.

    Born on July 4, 1930, in Rocky River, Ohio, Steinbrenner grew up in the Cleveland suburb of Bay Village and established his connections to the sports world at an early age.

    Steinbrenner was a multi-sport athlete at Culver Military Academy in Indiana, where he was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame, and at Williams College, where he graduated in 1952.

    Steinbrenner served two years in the Air Force before launching a coaching career, first at Aquinas High School in Columbus, Ohio, before accepting football assistant coaching positions at two Big Ten schools: Northwestern in 1955 and Purdue in 1956.
    He followed those experiences by assembling championship basketball teams in both the National Industrial and American Basketball Leagues.

    Preceding his purchase of the Yankees at age 42, Steinbrenner had also assumed control of his family's shipbuilding business and bought into the American Ship Building Company, amassing the fortune that would one day lead him to professional sports ownership.

    He briefly owned the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball Association and flirted with acquiring both an NBA franchise and the Cleveland Indians baseball club before ultimately landing his treasured prize in the Bronx.

    "Owning the Yankees," Steinbrenner once said, "is like owning the Mona Lisa."

    On Jan. 3, 1973, a group headed by Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees from CBS for a net of $8.7 million, re-injecting funds -- and more important, hope -- into a franchise that had experienced a period of dormancy in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    At a press conference announcing the deal, Steinbrenner famously told reporters that he did not intend to be a hands-on owner, a statement that Steinbrenner himself would later laugh at.

    "We plan absentee ownership as far as running the Yankees is concerned," Steinbrenner said. "We're not going to pretend we're something we aren't. I'll stick to building ships."

    Instead, Steinbrenner helped the Yankees build a dynasty through heavy utilization of the free agent market. Though once critical of free agency, saying that it could "ruin baseball," Steinbrenner soon became one of its biggest proponents. Pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter received a record-setting $2.85 million contract in 1974, and slugger Reggie Jackson soon netted a five-year, $3.5 million deal.

    Under aggressive leadership, it took Steinbrenner just five years to turn the Yankees into World Series champions once again.

    Steinbrenner's ownership of the Yankees spanned six championships, 10 American League pennants and a pair of dynasties, one of which - the team's run of two World Series victories and three appearances from 1977-1981 - is remembered as one of baseball's most controversial clubhouses and has been called "The Bronx Zoo" era.
    In that time period, Steinbrenner became famous for his headline-grabbing frequent changes of managers and general managers, all in relentless pursuit of a victorious Major League club.

    "Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing," Steinbrenner once said. "Breathing first, winning next."

    In his first 23 seasons, Steinbrenner switched managers 20 times -- including hiring and firing Billy Martin on five occasions -- and went through 11 general managers in 30 years.

    The early payoff came in the form of back-to-back World Series titles over the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977 and 1978, the Yankees' first consecutive titles since 1961 and 1962.

    The Yankees also appeared in the 1981 World Series against Los Angeles, though the end result was unacceptable to Steinbrenner, who issued a public apology to the city of New York for the seven-game defeat. The Yankees did not win a World Series championship throughout the 1980s, the first decade since the 1910s that they failed to do so.

    The Yankees' more recent dynasty of four World Series championships from 1996-2000 was constructed behind Steinbrenner's decidedly more hands-off approach. A blossoming farm system allowed the Yankees to reap the rewards of developing players like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams to great success, while still adding free agents to round out talented rosters.

    Steinbrenner's ownership of the Yankees was by far the longest of any owner in the storied franchise's history, exceeding the stewardship of Colonel Jacob Ruppert -- who purchased the club in 1915 and served as owner for 24 years until his death in January 1939.

    Steinbrenner's reign endured its share of controversy, too. In 1974, Steinbrenner was suspended by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn for two years 15 months after pleading guilty to a felony crime of making illegal contributions to Richard Nixon's presidential campaign. The suspension was later reduced to nine months.

    In July 1990, Steinbrenner was handed a lifetime ban from baseball by Commissioner Fay Vincent for paying $40,000 to a gambler named Howie Spira in exchange for damaging information about Winfield.

    Steinbrenner's ban was lifted by Vincent in March 1993, allowing Steinbrenner to resume his role as general partner of the club.

    "I don't begrudge either commissioner that suspended me," Steinbrenner told the Sporting News in 1998. "I have no ill feelings for either Bowie Kuhn or Fay Vincent.

    They did what they felt they had to do. I'm not saying that they were right, but they felt they had to do it and they did it. I put that behind me. I've moved on."

    Continuing his interests in sports outside the Yankees, Steinbrenner had a well-documented fondness for horse racing. His ownership of the 850-acre Kinsman Stud Farm near Ocala, Fla. influenced manager Joe Torre's own passion for colts.

    In 2002, Steinbrenner was honored with the Gold Medal Award from the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame for a lifetime of "outstanding commitment, dedication and dynamic leadership in both his business and personal lives." It is the highest and most prestigious award bestowed by the College Football Foundation.

    Steinbrenner was also known for his support of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

    Steinbrenner had served on the NCAA Board of Trustees since 1990, was Chairman of the U.S.O.C. Foundation from 1997 through 2002 as well as the Olympic Overview Commission in 1988 and 1989, which was created to evaluate the structure and efforts of the United States Olympic program.

    He also served as the Vice President of the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1989 to 1996 and was honored with both the General Douglas MacArthur USOC Foremost Award and the Dom Miller U.S. Olympic Award.

    In 1997, Steinbrenner was honored as "Outstanding New Yorker" and was named Tampa's "Citizen of the Year" for 1998. He was also named the Number One "Most Powerful Man in Sports" for 2002 by The Sporting News.

    "In the end," Steinbrenner was quoted as saying, "I'll put my good acts up against anybody in this country. Anybody."

    Steinbrenner was a part of mainstream pop culture, hosting Saturday Night Live in October 1990 and appearing on NBC's "Seinfeld" and HBO's "Arli$$" as himself. He also appeared in television commercials and was a regular character on "Seinfeld," though his likeness was voiced by Larry David.

    Steinbrenner's final legacy was completed in 2009, when the Yankees opened a new ballpark in the Bronx.

    Steinbrenner is survived by his wife, Joan, and their children, Hal, Hank, Jennifer and Jessica.

    Bryan Hoch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Malsua's Avatar
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    Default Re: George Steinbrenner - Dead at 80

    Heh, ole Georgie was a pain in the ass to work for apparently.

    RIP George.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt

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