George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees from CBS in 1973 for ten million dollars and within four years, the Yankees were winning World Series again and they would end up winning 7 World Series and 11 American League Pennants during his ownership (though 1 World Series win and AL Pennant came after he turned over day-to-day control of the team to his sons).
Mr. Steinbrenner was someone who you either loved or hated (if you weren’t a Yankee fan). He wanted to win at any cost and most fans of other teams didn’t like that about him. However, if given the chance, I’m sure every other fan would have loved to have George Steinbrenner as their owner because it would mean they would have an owner willing to spend money to put together the best team possible to give them the best chance to win.
Yes, Mr. Steinbrenner had his faults, some of which led to him being “banned for life” (which turned into suspensions), which I won’t go into here though spying on your own players is never a good thing. He is also partly to blame for the rising player salaries in baseball and for the huge difference between the “haves” and “have nots” (part of this was his desire to market the Yankees by having their own cable network etc). However, the reason The Boss did all this was to win, plain and simple. Yes, he was very quick to fire a manager but he was also very quick to hire them back if he thought they brought the Yankees the best chance to win.
Mr. Steinbrenner demanded nothing but the best on the field from his players and if you didn’t meet those standards, you were no longer a New York Yankee; he also expected all his players to act with dignity and class off of the field. The Boss was the only Yankee owner in my life and he made some bad decisions (Buhner for Ken Phelps for example) but he also made some great ones (bringing in Joe Torre, trading for Paul O’Neill and realizing that he just needed to let Gene Michael and then Brian Cashman do their jobs as General Managers in the early/mid 90s).
There is debate whether or not George Steinbrenner deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I’m torn on this because he was a fantastic owner with a willingness to win (something hardly any owners today seem to have) but his actions in the past can’t be justified so I’d have to lean towards No (though I would be very happy to see him included someday).
Rest in peace Mr. Steinbrenner; you were arguably the most loved and hated man at the same time in all of US Sports but you were a fantastic owner that brought the New York Yankees back to being the greatest franchise US sports history.
Born: July 4, 1930, Rocky River, OH
Died: July 13, 2010, Tampa, FL
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