The Steinbrenner era begins
JANUARY 3, 1973
NEW YORK CITY
– George Steinbrenner bought the New York Yankees on this day in baseball history. Actually he put together a group that bought the team from CBS for the bargain price of $10 million, but he was clearly the boss. Steinbrenner would prove to be the most domineering owner since Connie Mack.
Where would the Yankees be without him? Where would Seinfeld be without him?
He was more famous, or infamous, than many of his players. He was not one to sit back and let the baseball people run the team, although that’s what he said was his intention in 1973. As time went on he assumed more and more control of the daily operations. Steinbrenner was an impatient owner, going through a slew of managers in a short time, but loyal, he hired former Yankee second baseman Billy Martin as manager five times, which of course means he fired him five times.
George Steinbrenner was born on Friday, July 4, 1930. He grew up in the suburbs of
Cleveland, the son of a
Great Lakes shipping tycoon. He did well enough in the family business to have enough money to pursue the Yankees. Despite having little experience in baseball, he made a successful bid on the Yankees at the age of 42. Prior to purchasing the Yankees, his sports experience had been in other sports. He ran track and played football. After college he was an assistant football coach at Northwestern and later
Universities. Steinbrenner got into sports ownership in 1960 when he bought the Cleveland Pipers of the National Industrial Basketball League.
As owner of the New York Yankees, Steinbrenner found himself in the baseball commissioner’s dog house more than once. He was suspended from baseball for two years in 1974 after making illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon’s presidential re-election campaign. He was suspended again in 1990 after making payments to a confessed gambler who had some dirt on one of his former players, Dave Winfield.
But you can’t argue with success. As of this writing (December 2006), the Yankees have been to the World Series ten times since Steinbrenner’s been owner and won six of them. The teams value? As of 2000, it was worth $540 million, making it the most valuable franchise in all of sports.
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