“Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.”
- George M. Steinbrenner III
New York Yankees principal owner George M. Steinbrenner III passed away last Tuesday morning at his home in Tampa, Fl from a massive heart attack; he was 80 years old. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, children Hank, Hal, Jessica and Jennifer, several grandchildren and most importantly, Yankees Universe.
In the wake of Mr. Steinbrenner’s passing, I began writing about his infamous business practices throughout his tenure as owner. As I greeted each of the popular criticisms of “The Boss” and the Yankees, I came to a realization. Regardless if the Yankees organization is right or wrong when it comes to the usage of their resources and finances, it would not matter. Haters will be haters, and jealously is a crutch for the weak.
As a businessman, Mr. Steinbrenner would not settle on being average or good. His business and true love was the New York Yankees. He did anything and everything that was necessary to be as successful as possible. For example, you must do whatever it takes to care and provide for your family’s well-being. If not, you are not doing your best nor your job. Mr. Steinbrenner not only had a responsibility to his family, but the responsibility of Yankees Universe.
He understood that the fans of the Yankees around the world deserved an organization whose goal was not only to play into October, but win championships. During his 37 years of ownership the Yankees won seven World Series Championships. The 11 American League Pennants and 16 division titles would be an incredible accomplishment for any other team to celebrate, but in New York it’s a lost season and opportunity.
"The Boss" leaves us with many impressions from his larger than life being. The most lasting characteristic we will remember him by is his will to be the best. As clearly stated above by Mr. Steinbrenner, winning was everything. His tenacity and drive to win could not be matched by anyone, as he directed his troops in a General Patton-esque manner. But it was a two-way street; he demanded the most from each of his employees as he would for himself.
Mr. Steinbrenner exemplified the meaning of a Yankee: greatness. From day one in 1973, his message to his team was that he was going to bring back the pride, tradition, honor and championship glory to the once proud franchise. Over time, he brought this mentality and way of life back to the Bronx. Through the spirit of Mr. Steinbrenner, Yankees Universe will continue to reign as the pinnacle of all professional sports.
Rest in peace Mr. Steinbrenner, and thank you for all you have done for our organization. You will truly be missed.