R.I.P. George Steinbrenner
George Steinbrenner, a towering and intimidating figure who dominated the New York sports scene for 35 years, winning 11 American League pennants and seven world championships as owner of the Yankees, in and around two suspensions from baseball and multiple feuds and firings, died Tuesday morning in Tampa after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 80.
"The Boss" - as he was so aptly named by Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, his longtime antagonist - died at around 6:30 a.m. He had been suffering from failing health, the result of a series of strokes, for the past few years.
His family released a statement Tuesday morning. "It is with profound sadness that the family of George M. Steinbrenner III announces his passing," the statement said. "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 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."
As the old yarn states, "There was no joy in Mudville." Sure, that dealt with a player who struck out at the plate, but it is assured that Yankee fans across the nation are in mourning today. Yes, the fans will miss him, and rivals will take delight that they no longer have to deal with Steinbrenner ever again. Of course, that doesn't mean the Yankees will go downhill. Their management is stellar, and they're rebuilding.
The Yankees will be back.
Eleven pennants and seven World Series victories under his direction is the legacy he leaves for Yankee fans. He will be missed.