July 13, 2010
George Steinbrenner, who bought a declining Yankees team in 1973, promised to stay out of its daily affairs and then, in an often tumultuous reign, placed his formidable stamp on 7 World Series championship teams, 11 pennant winners and a sporting world powerhouse valued at perhaps $1.6 billion, died Tuesday morning, the team announced. He was 80 and lived in Tampa, Fla.
“He was an incredible and charitable man,” the family said in a statement.
“He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again.”
Mr. Steinbrenner’s death came eight months after the Yankees won their first World Series title since 2000, clinching their six-game victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at his new Yankee Stadium, and two days after the team’s longtime public-address announcer Bob Sheppard died at age 99.
Mr. Steinbrenner had been in failing health for the past several years and rarely appeared in public. He attended the opening game at the new stadium in April 2009, sitting in his suite with his wife, Joan (pronounced Jo-ann). When he was introduced and received an ovation, his shoulders shook and he cried.
He next appeared at the Yankees’ new home for the first two games of the World Series, then made his final appearance at the 2010 home opener, when Manager Joe Girardi and shortstop Derek Jeter, the team captain, came to his suite to present him with his 2009 World Series championship ring.
Mr. Steinbrenner spoke for only 25 seconds at the stadium’s groundbreaking ceremony in August 2006.
The blustering owner long familiar to Yankees fans and foes briefly re-emerged in October 2007 in a newspaper interview, when he threatened to fire Manager Joe Torre if the team did not advance beyond the first round of the American League playoffs. The Yankees were eliminated by the Cleveland Indians in that round, and soon afterward Torre departed after rejecting a one-year contract extension with a cut in his guaranteed salary.
In the eyes of Yankees figures from Mr. Steinbrenner’s heyday, his aura endured despite his frailty.
“He’s arguably the most recognized owner in all of sports,” Jeter said after Mr. Steinbrenner was driven onto the field in a golf cart in a ceremony before the 2008 All-Star Game at the old stadium.
“To be able to deliver this to the Boss, to the stadium he created and the atmosphere he created around here, it’s very gratifying to all of us,” Girardi said after the Yankees’ World Series victory at the new stadium.
Mr. Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ principal owner and chairman, had ceded increasing authority to his sons, Hal and Hank, who became co-chairmen in May 2008. Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner as well, was given control of the team in November 2008 in a unanimous vote by the major league club owners, who acted on his father’s request.
Mr. Steinbrenner was the central figure in a syndicate that bought the Yankees from CBS for $10 million. When he arrived in New York on Jan. 3, 1973, he said he would not “be active in the day-to-day operations of the club at all.” Having made his money as head of the American Shipbuilding Company, based in Cleveland, he declared, “I’ll stick to building ships.”
But four months later, Michael Burke, who had been running the Yankees for CBS and had stayed on to help manage the franchise, departed after clashing with Mr. Steinbrenner. John McMullen, a minority owner in the syndicate, soon remarked that “nothing is as limited as being a limited partner of George’s.”
Mr. Steinbrenner emerged as one of the most powerful, influential and, in the eyes of many, notorious executives in sports. He was the senior club owner in baseball at his death, the man known as the Boss.
A pioneer of modern sports ownership, Mr. Steinbrenner started the wave of high spending for playing talent when free agency arrived in the mid-1970s, and he continued to spend freely through the Yankees’ revival in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the long stretch without a pennant and then renewed triumphs under Torre and General Manager Brian Cashman.
The Yankees’ approximately $210 million payroll in 2009 dwarfed all others in baseball, and the team paid out millions in baseball’s luxury tax and revenue-sharing with small-market teams.
In the frenetic ’70s and ’80s, when general managers, field managers and pitching coaches were sent spinning through Mr. Steinbrenner’s revolving personnel door (Billy Martin had five stints as manager), the franchise became known as the Bronx Zoo. In December 2002, Mr. Steinbrenner’s enterprise had grown so rich that the president of the Boston Red Sox, Larry Lucchino, frustrated over losing pitcher Jose Contreras to the Yankees, called them the “evil empire.”
But Mr. Steinbrenner and the Yankees thrived through all the arguments, all the turmoil, all the bombast. Having been without a pennant since 1964 when Mr. Steinbrenner bought them, enduring sagging attendance while the upstart Mets thrived, the Yankees once again became America’s marquee sporting franchise.
Yankee Stadium underwent a major renovation in the mid-1970s, but that did not satisfy Mr. Steinbrenner with the passing of years and the building of many new stadiums with luxury boxes catering to corporate America. He cast an eye toward New Jersey, pressed for a new stadium in Manhattan and ultimately got a $1.5 billion stadium built in the Bronx, alongside the original House That Ruth Built.
Mr. Steinbrenner found new revenue streams from cable television, first in a longtime deal with the Madison Square Garden network and then with the creation of the Yankees’ YES network. The franchise also engineered lucrative marketing deals, notably a 10-year, $95 million apparel agreement with Adidas.
In 2005, the Yankees became the second American League team to top the four million mark in home attendance (the Toronto Blue Jays did it from 1991 to 1993), drawing a league-record 4,090,696. Their home attendance rose during the next three years, reaching a league-record 4,298,655 in 2008. But attendance dipped to 3,719,358 in the first year at the new stadium, which had fewer seats and higher ticket prices.
Mr. Steinbrenner lived year-round in Tampa, but he became a New York celebrity and a figure in popular culture. He was lampooned, with his permission, by a caricature in the sitcom “Seinfeld,” portrayed by the actor Lee Bear, who was always photographed from behind at the Boss’s desk, flailing his arms and suitably imperious, while Larry David, the show’s co-creator, provided the voice. George Costanza (Jason Alexander) became Mr. Steinbrenner’s assistant traveling secretary, whose duties included fetching calzones for him.
George Steinbrenner was born on July 4th, 1930 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Steinbrenner
July 4th, 1930
7 + 4 +1+9+3+0 = 24 = his life lesson = what he was here to learn = Dominance. Taking charge. Who’s in charge here? I’m in charge. Ruling the roost. Ruling with an iron fist.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
7 1 9
his primary challenge = GS = 71 = Professionalism. Being professional. Doing a good job.
how he obtained/lost his heart’s desire = GR = 79 = Anger management. Rage. Going off.
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