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Sunday July 4, 2010 8:01 pm

Steinbrenner’s legacy reaches 80




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories:

George SteinbrennerAs America celebrates its Independence Day today, another famous birthday is being honored today. Owner of the New York Yankees George Steinbrenner is 80 years old today and while he is no longer in the driving seat, his imprint can be seen and felt all over the Yankees brand and likely will continue to do so for many years to come. The Boss is serving as the longest-running owner of the Yankees in the franchise’s long and storied history.

In 1973, Steinbrenner and a group of minority partners bought the Yankees from CBS for an estimated $8.8 million. Since then, he has built the brand, particularly with innovative business moves such as being the first owner to sell television cable rights, and subsequently the creation of the YES Network in partnership with the New Jersey Nets. Today, the Yankees’ estimated worth is well over $1 billion. Steinbrenner gave up control of his team to his sons Hank and Hal in 2006.

Steinbrenner’s tenure was not without its share of controversies. From his being suspended as a result of illegal contributions to Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign to his bizarre grooming policy to the repeated dismissal and rehiring of Billy Martin, Steinbrenner’s been part of it all. Due to his behavior and his spending in free agency, Steinbrenner has really created a polarizing franchise in the Yankees. Fans praise the way he would put money he earned back into his franchise while haters would chastise him for buying his championships and covering up his mistakes with his checkbook.

Steinbrenner’s health is reportedly in decline these days. He is kept under careful watch and does not give interviews. His only public appearance since his retirement was at the All-Star Game in 2008. When he goes to Yankee games, there are specific procedures followed to keep his arrival and departure hidden from the media. Regardless what is thought about the businessman, Steinbrenner has done an incredible thing for baseball during his lifetime, and when his time comes, he will be sorely missed by many more than just those in New York.

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