George Steinbrenner was the longest-tenured owner in Yankees history and the many sides of his personality will make him the most remembered.
There is the blustery figure, responsible for hiring and firing Billy Martin five times and feuding with the likes of Yogi Berra and Dave Winfield.
There is the charitable figure, responsible for putting kids through college and giving players such as Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry second chances.
There is the passionate figure, who famously said “winning is second to breathing.” That comment was an extension of his obsession for championships but one that turned into tremendous success on and off the field.
“I think he truly loved it and probably felt that it was a huge accomplishment, but he never rested in it,” manager Joe Girardi said before last night’s All-Star Game.
In 37 years as principal owner, the Yankees posted a .566 winning percentage, won 11 American League pennants and seven world championships. After the final one last fall, a message appeared on the scoreboard of new Yankee Stadium, “This One’s for You Boss.”
“It was a thrill for us,” Andy Pettitte said. “I think all of us were kind of ... let’s do this for Mr. Steinbrenner and let’s do this for the fans.”
No owner in sports history has been as polarizing as Steinbrenner, but no one could argue with the bottom line.
“He really expected to win every night, every day,” Derek Jeter said.