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Remembering Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner

sportsdodgersBaseball suffered a great loss with the passing of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner on July 13, 2010, the day before the All-Star Game at Angels Stadium in Anaheim. He had just celebrated his 80th birthday on July 4.

Steinbrenner had a heart attack at his Tampa home in Florida and was taken to the St. Joseph’s Hospital. His death came two days after the passing of Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard.

“[George] was a giant in our game and he built an empire,” Dodgers Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda stated in a Dodgers press release regarding the late Yankees owner. “All he was was a winner. He wanted to give the fans a winner, and that’s exactly what he did.”

In the 37 years as owner, Steinbrenner led the Yankees to seven World Series championships, 11 American League pennants and 16 American League East titles.

Steinbrenner not only produced an extraordinary record for the Yankees, but was also a man his players admired. When former Yankee player Brian Doyle underwent chemotherapy, Steinbrenner called and gave him unfaltering support.

“He told me, ‘You’re a winner and you’ve always been a winner and you can beat this,’ ” Doyle told the New York Daily News. “Just like that. He called constantly, every week, just to check up on me.”

Not only was Steinbrenner a role model for his players, his sportsmanship was acknowledged by his rivals

“George Steinbrenner was the first owner to contact me to congratulate me when I purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers,” remembers Dodgers owner Frank McCourt through a Dodgers press release. “From that day forward we built a strong and meaningful friendship. He was a larger than life owner who cared deeply about winning. George helped shape the game of baseball during his incredible stewardship of the Yankees.”

Steinbrenner’s Yankees had a storied rivalry with the Dodgers. The two teams met more times in the World Series than any other pair of teams in the major leagues. They played in 12 World Series and in 72 games throughout their history going back to when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn. The Dodgers have won 31 games in the World Series to the Yankees’ 41. The Yankees have won nine World Series titles against the Dodgers.

Before becoming the Dodgers manager, Joe Torre led the Yankees to four World Series championships for Steinbrenner. He said in a Dodgers press release he respected Steinbrenner and remembered him as a caretaker of baseball.

“I will always remember George Steinbrenner as a passionate man, a tough boss, a true visionary, a great humanitarian and a dear friend,” he said. “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.”