He equates owning the New York Yankees to
possessing the Mona Lisa. Both are masterpieces to be savored, not sold. Since purchasing the franchise in 1973, George Steinbrenner has run the
Yankees with a flair that has made him loved or hated the most prominent owner in sports.
Steinbrenner has a bombastic, calculating and cold side that
transformed the Yankees into baseball's foremost dictatorship. The other side of Steinbrenner is the philanthropist and father figure whose good deeds
often get overshadowed by George the schoolyard bully.He has presided over six world championships and ten pennants and his tenure as Yankees owner is
the longest in team history. In his earlier years, only Steinbrenner's impetuosity matched his thirst for winning. Nicknamed "The Boss" by the New
York tabloids, he changed managers 20 times in his first 23 seasons. Five times he hired Billy Martin, turning the George and Billy show into a stale
comedy routine.He is complicated. He is temperamental. He is contradictory. Many people have differing opinions when it comes to Yankees owner George
Steinbrenner, probably as differing as his moods. Love him or hate him, Steinbrenner didn't get to where he is today by chance.His "Yankee" status
revealed even by his birth date, George Michael Steinbrenner III was born July 4th, 1930, in Rocky River, Ohio. Before becoming owner and chief
operating officer of the American Shipbuilding Company, Steinbrenner was an assistant football coach at Northwestern and Purdue.
Working in the family business, Steinbrenner earned his fortune by heading the Cleveland-based American Shipbuilding Company. In 1973, he became the
principal owner of what is considered the best baseball team in the league: the New York Yankees. Despite the fact that Steinbrenner knew nothing
about baseball at the time, the investor group that Steinbrenner assembled bought the team from CBS.
His time with the Yankees has been marked by controversy, disagreements and success. As club president from 1979 to 1990, Steinbrenner believed in the
pursuit of free agent players as the key to filling up the stadium's seats, and it was this pursuit that led to the Yankees' World Series win in
1979.Steinbrenner was eventually suspended from the sport from 1990 until 1992 for his negative behavior. One of the promises the Boss made upon
purchasing the team was that he would not meddle too much in the goings-on of the team. For better or for worse, that was not a well-kept promise.
In 1993, he returned to head the team and has since been involved in talks about
whether or not to relocate Yankee Stadium, as well as refusing offers to sell the team. Steinbrenner tried to groom one of his sons to take over the
baseball "family business", but that plan failed after his son and son-in-law quit the team. Still, another son and son-in-law do work for the
Yankees, but the question remains whether or not Steinbrenner, who has been the boss for 27 years, will step down. Steinbrenner was even involved in
political controversy when he illegally participated in President Nixon's campaign for presidency. Usually a tabloid and media favorite, Steinbrenner
has been keeping a lower profile as of late.Although Steinbrenner is seen as unpredictable and spontaneous, he does in fact do a lot of research, and
his decision-making is not as spur-of-the-moment as it seems.Whatever he does, this business man with boundless energy and a penchant for controversy
is still heading the most valuable American sports franchise, and after 27 years, he's still going strong.
[Edited on 18/7/04 by TRD]