George Steinbrenner wasn’t the richest owner in sports, but he was undeniably the most passionate about winning.
The most polarizing figure in baseball throughout his 37-year tenure as Yankees’ owner, Steinbrenner died of a massive heart attack early Tuesday morning. He was 80-years-old.
All too often today, you hear about small market owners pocketing revenue sharing profits they receive from the large market clubs. Steinbrenner not only generated hundreds of millions for the game, but never shied away from committing significant portions of those earnings back into the Yankees’ payroll.
Many of his critics suggest that disparities in team payrolls are bad for baseball, but without a salary cap, Steinbrenner was well within his rights to give the Yankees all the resources necessary to win titles.
He’ll be remembered for his overbearing, hands-on and frequently confrontational ownership style and relentless expectations.
Steinbrenner won seven World Series championships and 11 American League pennants. He was suspended for two-and-a-half years for hiring Howie Spira to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield and banished earlier for 15 months after pleading guilty in federal court to making illegal campaign contributions.
Despite attempts to remain anonymous with many of his donations, Steinbrenner was a noted philanthropist who gave millions to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, FL.
In celebrating his life, look back at his 10 best moves as Yankees’ owner.