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Remembering George Steinbrenner

Jul 13, 2010 – 11:57 AM
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FanHouse Staff

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The baseball world (and beyond) remembers Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who
died Tuesday morning at age 80:

• Baseball commissioner Bud Selig: "On behalf of Baseball, I am very saddened by the passing this morning of George Steinbrenner. George was a giant of the game and his devotion to baseball was surpassed only by his devotion to his family and his beloved New York Yankees. He was and always will be as much of a New York Yankee as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and all of the other Yankee legends. I have known George ever since he entered the game in 1972. He was my dear friend for nearly four decades. Although we would have disagreements over the years, they never interfered with our friendship and commitment to each other. Our friendship was built on loyalty and trust and it never wavered. We were allies and friends in the truest sense of the words. My wife, Sue, and I pass on our deepest sympathies to the Steinbrenner family, to the New York Yankees and to all of his friends. We will miss him, especially tonight when the baseball family will be gathered at Angel Stadium for the All-Star Game."

• Dodgers -- and former Yankees -- manager Joe Torre: "I will always remember George Steinbrenner as a passionate man, a tough boss, a true visionary, a great humanitarian, and a dear friend. I will be forever grateful that he trusted me with his Yankees for 12 years. My heart goes out to his entire family. He will be deeply missed in New York, Tampa and throughout the world of baseball. It's only fitting that he went out as a world champ."

• Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain (via Twitter): "We all suffered a huge loss today! Mr. Steinbrenner was a great man, great owner, that did so many amazing things. You will truly be missed!"

• Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra: "This is a very sad day for me and Carmen and all of baseball. My sympathies go out to the Steinbrenner family. George was The Boss, make no mistake. He built the Yankees into champions and that's something nobody can ever deny. He was a very generous, caring, passionate man. George and I had our differences, but who didn't? We became great friends over the last decade and I will miss him very much."

• Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer: "I would prefer to remember him just as he was the first time I met him. I was managing the Red Sox and sitting in the dugout several hours before a game at Yankee Stadium. He was on the mound in a white shirt pitching batting practice to his son. A father throwing to his son. His impact on the game is impossible to measure. If you were a Yankee fan there was no better owner because he would do anything at any cost to put the best team on the field. My deepest sympathies go out to his family."

• Braves manager Bobby Cox (via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution): "I worked for George for about 10 years in the minor leagues and big leagues. He was great. He was a tough guy. He was demanding. But he had a huge heart. ... It's a big loss for baseball. He's a winner. He insisted on putting a great team out every year, and did."

• Cubs manager Lou Piniella: "George was like a father figure to me. He treated me well, he treated me fair and he gave me a wonderful opportunity to play and manage the game we all love. George will be remembered as one of the most influential and renowned owners of a franchise in sports history. He leaves a legacy of winning and an unwavering passion for success. My wife Anita and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees organization. George was very special to me and I loved him."

• Dodgers coach Don Mattingly: "I am deeply saddened to hear the news of George Steinbrenner's passing. His vision, passion and commitment to winning, recharged the New York Yankees and revolutionized the game. I remember a man driven to succeed. He was the owner, 'The Boss' and number one fan of the Yankees. Our relationship was built on mutual respect. I will never forget and always be grateful for how he treated me and my family both during my playing days and after I retired. I will miss him very much and extend my deepest condolences to his wife, Joan, and all the members of the Steinbrenner family."

• Actor Jason Alexander (via CNBC): "I met the real George Steinbrenner on only one occasion when he actually came and played himself on an episode of 'Seinfeld.' He seemed to really enjoy himself. I did not get to know him but the fact that he allowed himself and his beloved team to be satirized on our show is an indication to me of his true character. He was certainly a legend and I am pleased to have been associated with him, even if only in fiction. My sympathies to his family, friends and fans."

• Yankees senior vice president and scouting director Damon Oppenheimer: "We lost as competitive of a guy as I've ever been around. He just wanted to win. That guy wanted to win as bad as anybody. He gave you all of the resources and avenues to do it, and he had high expectations for everything he did. In a time that a lot of people cut corners, that wasn't his style. He was about pride. He expected the Yankees to set themselves to a different standard than everybody else in baseball. I always had to explain to new scouts that we weren't talking to kids about being just professional baseball players. We were talking to them about being New York Yankees. You were held to different standard."

• MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner: "We are saddened to learn of the passing of George Steinbrenner. George Steinbrenner's passion for the game of baseball helped revive one of the game's most storied franchises, and in the process ushered in the modern era of baseball business operations. Mr. Steinbrenner understood and embraced the power of the players, and he put this knowledge to good use in establishing the Yankees as one of the sports world's most iconic brands. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Steinbrenner family, his friends and the entire Yankees baseball family."

• Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda: "George was a friend who I admired very much. He was a giant in our game and he built an empire. All he was was a winner. He wanted to give the fans a winner, and that's exactly what he did."


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• Red Sox owner John Henry, formerly a minority owner of the Yankees: "I had the good fortune to call George Steinbrenner both partner and friend. I had the privilege to watch George as he built a system that ensured his beloved Yankees would have a strong foundation for sustained excellence. And then we fiercely competed in the American League. George Steinbrenner forever changed baseball and hopefully some day we will see him honored in baseball's Hall of Fame as one of the great figures in the history of sports."

• Former MLB Players Association executive director Donald Fehr: "I was greatly saddened to learn today of the death of George Steinbrenner. Everyone involved in the game had great respect for what the Yankees accomplished during his tenure, both on and off the field. George Steinbrenner shared the players' competitive drive: his goal was for his team to win. I also had the privilege to work with him on matters involving America's Olympic athletes. He was extremely well regarded for his efforts on their behalf over the years. I am glad that I had a chance to be a part of baseball while George Steinbrenner was on the scene."

• Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio: "I am deeply saddened by the death of George Steinbrenner. Our community has lost a grand and generous person who made a difference in ways large and small. With a larger-than-life personality, he leaves a lasting legacy in sports, business, and philanthropy. Many times he worked behind the scenes to help individuals and institutions -- all to make Tampa a better place to live. He was a true community leader. By making Tampa the home for his family and the spring training home for the New York Yankees, he forever changed our community for the better. He cared about law enforcement and their families and his establishment of the Gold Shield Foundation will continue to positively impact lives. His dedication to the betterment of the youth in our community was unmatched. Mr. Steinbrenner's passing is a great loss to our city and to his family and friends. On behalf of the city of Tampa, I offer condolences and I ask our community to keep them in your thoughts and prayers. He will forever be missed."

• U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst and former USOC president Bill Hybl: "Today we mourn the loss of one of this country's most iconic sports figures. His impact on sports supersedes baseball and the New York Yankees. His work on behalf of the U.S. Olympic Committee and in particular U.S. Olympic athletes continues to affect the way the USOC conducts business today. The Steinbrenner report in 1989 revolutionized the USOC's sport performance philosophy, and a generation of Olympians have benefited as a result. His influence on the U.S. Olympic Movement, his devotion to sport and the pursuit of excellence will forever be remembered."

• NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol: "As much as people rightfully today will give George Steinbrenner tremendous accolades for the almost 40 years of New York Yankees success, I hope no one will overlook or forget the immense impact that he has had on the development of some of the most successful U.S. Winter and Summer Olympic teams in history."

• The Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: "The sports world and Tampa community have lost a legend and a friend. George was one of the most consequential and colorful executives in sports history. He helped restore his proud franchise to its unique place in sports and society. However, his greatest contributions weren't those that graced the sports page. He was a caring, gentle giant in our community. George will be sorely missed."

• Yankees president Randy Levine: "There will never be anyone like George Steinbrenner. He was the greatest owner in pro sports. He was an inspirational figure. There are not many people like him in the world. He was very, very extraordinary."

• Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr.: "Today I join 1.4 million Bronxites, and Yankee fans across the world, in mourning the passing of a great man, 'The Boss,' George Steinbrenner. During his tenure as owner of the New York Yankees, Mr. Steinbrenner did everything in his power to create his own winning tradition in the Bronx, an effort that resulted in seven World Series championships. While other baseball fans were jealous of his success, Yankee fans, like myself, loved him for it. Both the Bronx and New York City have lost a giant today -- in baseball and in charity -- and my deepest condolences go out to the Steinbrenners and the entire New York Yankees family,"

• Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: "First and foremost this man was a winner.From a person with my perspective, he was an inspiration in the area of doing everything possible -- within the rules -- to win. George redefined professional sports ownership with his vision, his ability to build a champion and a passionate approach that lifted the visibility and popularity of his franchise and his sport. From an interest level, baseball was always better when the profile and the performance of the New York Yankees was at a high level, and George always made sure that was the case. I admired his willingness to promote and support all sports at all levels. I appreciated his understanding of the invaluable asset of involving his family in the management of the Yankees. I took pride in calling him a friend, an advisor, an inspiration and later, a business partner. We have lost a true leader in sports -- someone who not only saw the big picture but helped create the scene on the canvas."

• Mets owners Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and Jeff Wilpon: "The passing of George Steinbrenner marks the end of an era in New York City baseball history. George was a larger than life figure and a force in the industry. The rise and success of his teams on the field and in the business marketplace under his leadership are a testament to his skill, drive, and determination. All of us at the Mets send our deepest condolences to his wife Joan, his sons Hank and Hal, daughters Jennifer and Jessica, his grandchildren, and everyone at the Yankees organization."

• New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "Our hearts and prayers go out to the entire Steinbrenner family. This is a sad day not only for Yankee fans, but for our entire City, as few people have had a bigger impact on New York over the past four decades than George Steinbrenner. George had a deep love for New York, and his steely determination to succeed -- combined with his deep respect and appreciation for talent and hard work -- made him a quintessential New Yorker. George invested his heart and soul into the Yankees, and his competitive fire helped usher in new eras of Yankee greatness, reclaiming the team's long tradition of excellence and its position as the most successful franchise in the history of American sports. He was a champion who made New York a better place, and who always gave back to the city he loved. He has left an indelible legacy on the Yankees, on baseball, and on our city, and he leaves us in the only way that would be appropriate: as a reigning world champion. We will be lowering the flags in City Hall Plaza today in honor of his achievements. George was a larger than life New York figure whose passion and drive to succeed will forever be missed."

• Orioles owner Peter Angelos: "The Orioles are saddened to learn of the passing of George Steinbrenner. As an active participant in the organizational direction and operations of the New York Yankees, his name is as synonymous with that franchise as any of the legendary athletes who have played in pinstripes. On behalf of the Orioles organization, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife, Joan, and the members of his family."

• Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson (via Twitter): "To all the Yankee fans- don't mourn the Boss, celebrate his legacy. He revitalized the franchise and at times, the entire industry."

• Rays owner Stuart Sternberg: "George Steinbrenner's impact on both the game of baseball and in the Tampa Bay community will have an everlasting effect on us all. We send our deepest sympathies to the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees organization."

• White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf: "George Steinbrenner was too complex a person to adequately describe in a short statement, but he was a great friend of mine and he will be missed. His impact on the game cannot be denied."

• Tigers owner Mike Illitch: "We are saddened by the passing of George Steinbrenner and extend our condolences to the Steinbrenner family and the New York Yankees organization. George was a tremendous competitor. His passion for winning motivated all of us in baseball. When George took over the ballclub, he reinvented the Yankees. He did everything within his power to put a championship team on the field. George was personable, friendly and truly cared about his franchise and the fans. We always admired his drive to be the best."

• Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson: "I have great respect for George, a man from whom I learned so much about leadership, motivation and accountability during my tenure with the ball club as media relations director from 1989-93. His overriding objective was to win, the sign of a true sportsman. You have to give him credit for always having the best interest of Yankee fans at heart, which was bringing a World Series winner to the Bronx, something he accomplished seven times. He bought a wilting franchise in 1973 and turned it into a worldwide brand through his vision, work ethic and overall Yankee ingenuity. He was a true friend of the Hall of Fame, and the history he helped create will always be preserved in Cooperstown."

• Florida Gov. Charlie Crist: "Florida joins the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball in mourning the loss of unparalleled baseball icon George Steinbrenner. As the principal owner of the New York Yankees, George redefined the description of a chief executive. During his tenure, the Yankees won 11 American League pennants and seven world championships. He loved his family, his team, New York City and his home in Tampa, where he brought the Yankees to train each spring and his family's shipbuilding business, providing employment to many families. While the public face of George Steinbrenner was a demanding owner, he was extremely generous to others. Many acts of kindness were bestowed to those in need, with most of those acts going unnoticed except by those who benefited. I join with fellow Floridians in offering condolences to George's wife, Joan, sons Hal and Hank, and daughters Jennifer and Jessica, all of whom reside in Tampa."

• New York Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson: "George Steinbrenner is an American icon and was one of the preeminent owners in all of sports. A true champion with his own unique style, he held his team to the highest standards and demanded a title for Yankees fans each and every season. I will remember him as a winner whose passion and enthusiasm became part of the fabric of New York City. He was an inspiration and represented the essence of leadership."

• Former New York Giants standout Michael Strahan (via Twitter): "RIP George Steinbrenner. Set the standard as an owner for doing whatever you have to do to win with no apologies. Unique man!!!"

• YES Network president and CEO Tracy Dolgin: "We at YES are saddened by the passing of George M. Steinbrenner. He was a New York icon and a sports icon, a true visionary who will be greatly missed. His vision of a team-owned regional sports network for the Yankees, resulting in the formation of the YES Network, revolutionized the sports business. Mr. Steinbrenner's influence on the world of sports is tremendous, and will be felt long after he's gone. Our prayers and thoughts go out to the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees organization."

• Astros owner Drayton McLane: "I have known George Steinbrenner since we purchased the Astros in 1993. He was one of the few owners still involved today. He welcomed me as an owner and said that they were looking for new ideas, marketing, and leadership in Major League Baseball. Each time he was at an owner's meeting, he went out of his way to extend his friendship, and he certainly made me feel at home. He built the Yankees into the preeminent team in MLB. Over the years, they have been consistently competitive and often World Champions. The new Yankee Stadium he built is one of the finest sports facilities in the world. He was truly a leader to be admired. We regret very much his passing, and our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and the New York Yankees. He will be missed."

• New York Giants president John Mara: "The passing of George Steinbrenner leaves a significant void in the fabric of the sports world and New York City. The thoughts and prayers of our organization are with the Steinbrenner and Yankees families. George's energy and his commitment and devotion to the Yankees were unmatched, and he was as generous and charitable a person as has ever been in sports. His was a unique, special and unforgettable presence."
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