George Steinbrenner, New York Yankees Legend, Passes Away at Age 80:
George M. Steinbrenner, long-time owner of the New York Yankees
, passed away on July 13, 2010 at age 80. Steinbrenner served as the principal owner of the New York Yankees since 1973, making him the longest-tenured owner in Major League Baseball. Steinbrenner's demanding personality earned him the nickname "The Boss" and made him both a baseball and cultural icon.
George Steinbrenner -- The Early Years:
George Steinbrenner was raised in an upper middle class family near Cleveland, Ohio and started his first business at age 9 selling eggs door to door. After attending Williams College and serving in the United States Air Force, Steinbrenner spent a few years working as an assistant college football coach before his father convinced him to return to Cleveland to work in the family shipping business.
Steinbrenner climbed the corporate ladder to eventually become president and majority shareholder of the American Ship Building Company and lead the company to great success.
George Steinbrenner Meets the New York Yankees:
After a failed bid to purchase the major league Cleveland Indians in 1972, Steinbrenner became interested in The New York Yankees. The Yankees had a storied history and a 39-year winning streak, but had recently been losing games and fans. In 1973, The New York Yankees were for sale for just $10 million and Steinbrenner and 12 other investors purchased the team and promptly signed manager Billy Martin and star pitcher James "Catfish" Hunter.
George Steinbrenner -- 1972 Suspension:
In 1972, Steinbrenner was caught using corporate funds and faking employee bonuses to contribute illegally to Richard Nixon's reelection campaign. He plead guilty to felony charges in 1974, was fined $15,000, and suspended from baseball for 15 months.
George Steinbrenner -- The New York Yankees Rise Again:
After the suspension, Steinbrenner returned to the New York Yankees and helped the team win its first pennant in 12 years in 1976. The Yankees lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the 1976 World Series, but the team won back the hearts of many New Yorkers.
To build on this momentum, Steinbrenner recruited top talent to play for the Yankees -- including Ken Griffey, Reggie Jackson and Tommy John. In 1977, Reggie Jackson helped the New York Yankees win their first World Series championship since 1962. It became the first of Steinbrenner's eventual seven titles as owner of the New York Yankees.
George Steinbrenner -- The Boss Gets Banned from Baseball:
With success, Steinbrenner's Yankees became more profitable and Steinbrenner became a bigger and more controversial figure in the world of baseball. Steinbrenner earned a reputation for barking orders during games, firing managers, and publicly embarrassing his players and employees.
Steinbrenner's approach didn't go over well with Dave Winfield, who signed a record-breaking contract with the New York Yankees in 1980. A dispute over the Winfield Foundation charity eventually turned in to a court battle.
To make his case, Steinbrenner hired someone to to find compromising information about Winfield. The incident led to Steinbrenner's "permanent" ban from baseball on July 13, 1990.
Steinbrenner Returns to the New York Yankees:
Steinbrenner was reinstated in 1993, but took a more "hands off" approach upon his return and left active management of the Yankees to his partners and eventually his sons Hank and Hal Steinbrenner.
In 1996, the Yankees won their first World Series in 18 seasons by upsetting the Atlanta Braves. Over the next eight seasons, the New York Yankees took home the American League pennant six times and won four World Series of the next five.
In 2009, Steinbrenner attended the opening of the new Yankee Stadium
George Steinbrenner died of a heart attack on July 13, 2010. He was 80 years old.