Just nine days after his 80th birthday and just two days after the passing of iconic PA announcer Bob Sheppard, the Yankees are now mourning the loss of owner George Steinbrenner Tuesday morning after a massive heart attack.
Steinbrenner had been in declining health for about 3 years now and most of the day-to-day operations of the team were passed to sons Hal and Hank. Although many in the Yankee Universe were expecting his eventual passing, a heart attack was not what most were expecting.
Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $10 Million in 1973 and initially claimed he would not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the team. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. In his first 8 years of ownership, Steinbrenner’s Yankees won 4 pennants and 2 World Series championships.
After a “Dark Ages” from 1982-1993, the Yankees started winning regularly again in 1994, leading the league before the player’s strike ended the season. The Yankees have not had a losing season since and despite the “dark ages” the Yankees still hold the best overall record from 1973-today.
Love him or hate him, for better or worse, the Boss changed baseball forever. He brought a businessman’s mentality to the game that led to higher salaries for the players due to his willingness to pay a lot of money for good players. For example, he offered Catfish Hunter a $700,000+ salary back when many baseball players were not even making six figures.
Yankees fans will have to mourn the loss of two iconic members of the organization for the rest of the season. I will be interested to see how the Boss is remembered at tonight’s all-star game. After the impact this man had on baseball, I’ll be disappointed if nothing is mentioned.