The details are still sketchy but New York Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner has reportedly died after suffering a massive heart attack.
Emergency crews responded to a call at Steinbrenner’s home in Tampa Monday night and rushed him to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he passed away. He was pronounced dead at 6:30 a.m.
Steinbrenner, who turned 80 on July 4th, has owned the Yankees since 1973, though in 2008, his declining health forced him to hand over day-to-day operations to his sons Hank and Hal. Under Steinbrenner’s ownership, the Yankees earned 11 pennants and 7 World Series titles.
Steinbrenner’s is known for implementing his famous “grooming policy” where players and coaches were not allowed to wear their hair past their collar leading to a few hair-related incidents including one in 1983, when Steinbrenner forced manager Yogi Berra to order Goose Gossage to shave his beard. Gossage responded by shaving away the beard but leaving a thick exaggerated mustache. Another incident involved the infamous benching of Don Mattingly, who refused to cut his mullet.
Steinbrenner also had a reputation for firing – changing managers 20 times in 23 seasons (including axing Billy Martin on five separate occasions), and general managers 11 times in 30 years. With a net worth of $1.15 billion in 2009 according to the Forbes 400 List, Steinbrenner revolutionized the business of baseball by being the first owner to sell TV cable rights.
A spokesperson for the Steinbrenner family released the statement, “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.”
The rep adds, “Funeral arrangements will be private. There will be an additional public service with details to be announced at a later date.”
Flags at Steinbrenner Field, the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa, have been lowered to half-mast. Steinbrenner’s death comes just two days after the Yankees’ public-address announcer Bob Sheppard died at 99.
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