Legendary New York Yankee’s owner George Steinbrenner (1930-2010) passed away at the age of 80 on July 13th. Steinbrenner’s legacy is that he essentially created the modern sports franchise owner. Steinbrenner epitomized what fans could want in their owner, he went all out to win every season, genuinely cared about the product on the field, and never hesitated to spend the money when necessary. Steinbrenner took over a struggling Yankee’s franchise in 1973, and vowed to stay out of its daily affairs, but turned into the most proactive owner in professional sports. Steinbrenner’s reign was tumultuous early on, but seemed to find the perfect balance as an owner becoming iconic after returning from a three year suspension in 1993.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, one of the premier owners in the NFL shares his fond memories of Steinbrenner in an interview with the Los Angeles Times:
“In some ways, George Steinbrenner moved the needle,” said Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots. “But he also crossed the border at times. There’s a fine line there.” Kraft counted Steinbrenner as a friend and received a handwritten letter from the Yankees owner when the Patriots won their first of three Lombardi Trophies in early 2002. ”It was the nicest letter, praising us for the turnaround and making the right personnel decisions, even when they weren’t the most popular decisions at the time,” Kraft said. ”We both want to win. We do things different, stylistically, but the bottom line is we want winners running the show.”