Major League Baseball
Reactions to the death of George Steinbrenner
Major League Baseball

Reactions to the death of George Steinbrenner

Published Jul. 13, 2010 1:00 a.m. ET

“It is with profound sadness that the family of George M. Steinbrenner III announces his passing. He passed away this morning in Tampa, Fla., at age 80.

“He was an incredible and charitable man. First and foremost he was devoted to his entire family – his beloved wife, Joan; his sisters, Susan Norpell and Judy Kamm, his children, Hank, Jennifer, Jessica and Hal; and all of his grandchildren.

“He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again.” — the family of George Steinbrenner

“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.” — Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig


"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." — Jason Alexander, whose character, George Costanza, worked for the Yankees

''Who else could be a memorable character on a television show without actually appearing on the show? You felt George even though he wasn't there. That's how huge a force of personality he was.'' — comedian Jerry Seinfield

"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." — Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra

“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.” — Dodgers manager (and former Yankees manager) Joe Torre

“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.” — Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who played for the Yankees and later managed them

“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.” — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

“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.”— Dodgers Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda

“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.” — Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly, a former Yankees player and coach

“George Steinbrenner was the first owner to contact me to congratulate me when I purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers. 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. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Joan and his four children, Hal, Hank, Jennifer and Jessica and the entire Steinbrenner family.” — Dodgers owner Frank McCourt

"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." — Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association

“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. — Boston Red Sox owner John W, Henry, a former minority owner of the Yankees

“George Steinbrenner was a formidable opponent and baseball’s greatest rivalry will not be the same without him,” “As the longest tenured owner, he left an indelible mark on the game. I worked with George in my position as the owner of two Major League franchises and saw first-hand his passionate leadership style, his zeal for winning, and his love for the game. Above all, I knew George as a competitor and today Red Sox Nation lost a person who truly relished the prospect of facing the Red Sox and doing all he could to make sure his beloved Yankees would come out victorious." — Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner

“George Steinbrenner was one of the most important people in the history of the game, and his impact touched all aspects of the business of baseball. His vision for the Yankees turned around a once-struggling franchise and manifested itself in the form of seven World Series Championships and 11 American League pennants. My respect for George went beyond the baseball field because of his sincere and longstanding commitment to charity, and to people in need. He had a giant heart, often well hidden from public view. Part of his legacy here in Boston will be the profound kindness he showed to numerous local philanthropic causes, especially as a regular and generous contributor each year to the Jimmy Fund of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.” — Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino

“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.” — Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg

“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.” — Tampa Bay Rays senior baseball advisor Don Zimmer, a former Yankees coach

"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." — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

"This is a huge loss for baseball. George was a true winner. I worked for him for 10 years and we got along great. He was tough guy, but he was also very nice and he had a big heart.

"I remember when the annual Winter Meetings were really exciting, guys like George Steinbrenner, Ted Turner (Atlanta Braves) and Brad Corbett (Texas Rangers) really made them something to look forward to — they were always the life of the meetings.

"George will be greatly missed and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to the Yankees." — Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox, who once managed in the Yankees' farm system

"George Steinbrenner was passionate not only about the Yankees, but also all of baseball. Everyone in and around Major League Baseball, along with millions of Yankee fans, will miss George’s larger-than-life presence. I knew George personally for more than 35 years, and I was very fond of him. George was very proud that his beloved Yankees were left in good hands. The entire Marlins organization joins me in extending condolences to the Steinbrenner family." — Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria

“My family and I are sad to learn of the passing of George Steinbrenner early this morning. He will be truly missed by players, fans and all of Major League Baseball. George will be remembered for the leader he was, the championships he brought into being and his many contributions to America’s pastime. My family and all of Cubs Nation send our condolences to the Steinbrenner family, the Yankees and their fans.” — Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts

“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 owners 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.” — Houston Astros Chairman and CEO Drayton McLane

"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." — Baltimore Orioles principal owner and managing partner Peter Angelos

"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.” — Detroit Tigers owner Michael Ilitch and his wife Marian

"The Washington Nationals and the Lerner Family are deeply saddened by the loss of George Steinbrenner — a monumental figure of the baseball world for more than 35 years. He will be remembered as a driven competitor and champion, but also a man who gave much to the people and communities he loved. George was a one of a kind owner, sports figure, and man. He will be missed. Our condolences go out to the Steinbrenner family, the Yankees organization and Yankees fans everywhere." — Washington Nationals

“George Steinbrenner served the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors with great commitment and enthusiasm for the last 12 years since his election as a director in 1998. He shared his vision, kindness, love for the game and his generosity in so many ways as a key figure in the Board’s leadership. His impact on the Museum’s ability to preserve baseball history is felt at so many levels in the organization. Our sympathies are with the Steinbrenner family. He will be greatly missed in Cooperstown.” — Hall of Fame Board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark

“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.” — Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson

“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.” — Donald Fehr, former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association

''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.'' — Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf

''George Steinbrenner's Yankees represent the will to overcome all odds which is precisely the will New Yorkers display when meeting every challenge they face. George will be greatly be missed but his legacy will carry on in the hearts and minds of all baseball fans.'' — former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani

''George Steinbrenner was a dynamic personality in sports and in business. He was the ultimate competitor in both worlds. All of us in the business of sports want to win; that is the objective. George personified that ambition.'' — New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch

''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.'' — New York Jets owner Woody Johnson

''From his playing days at Williams College to his coaching days at Purdue and Northwestern, it was clear that George Steinbrenner was a product of the gridiron. We will miss his passion for giving back to our sport, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.'' — former NFL quarterback Archie Manning

''He had a tremendous impact on the Olympic movement in the U.S. He was devoted to sport and the pursuit of excellence and because of that, a generation of Olympic athletes have benefited.'' — U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst

''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.'' — Florida Gov. Charlie Crist

''I met George when I was 9 years old on a baseball field in a Cleveland public park. I prefer to remember him as a young man who encouraged girls and boys to play sports with enthusiasm, skill and courage. He taught me to throw overhand and to slide. And over the years he was consistently kind to me whenever I ran into him — for which I will always be grateful.'' — University of Miami president Donna Shalala

''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.'' — NBC Sports and Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol


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