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George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees 40 years ago today

Jan 3, 2013, 9:46 AM EDT

George Steinbrenner thumbs up

Forty years ago today George Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees. The price? $10 million, which is what the Cubs are paying Carlos Villanueva over the next two years. The then-stated managerial philosophy:

“We plan absentee ownership as far as running the Yankees is concerned. We’re not going to pretend we’re something we aren’t. I’ll stick to building ships.”

Didn’t quite work out that way. But 40 years later the Steinbrenner family still owns the team and stands as the longest-tenured ownership group in the game.

Happy Boss-a-versary, Yankees fans.

  1. number42is1 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    RIP george… you are sorely missed by Yankees fans everywhere

    • crotchjenkins - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      False. I’m glad that scumbag finally kicked it.

      • number42is1 - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:12 AM

        Seeing as how you are clearly of high class allow me to clarify for you, you ignorant fuck.
        “Yankees fans everywhere” is NOT = ALL Yankees fans. SO… if there is at least ONE Yankees fan in your area that misses him, which i am sure that there is, then my statement is still true.
        P.S. sorry that he had sex with your mom and caused your parents to split up.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        George was HATED by Yankee fans and baseball people right up until the mid 90’s and then revisionist history began to be written.

        – Banned from baseball
        – In my opinion never cared at all about baseball as a whole, just his team, and hurt the game of baseball by his presence.
        – Played games with players, managers and fans for years that he was hated right up until the Yankees started winning.

        But when someone dies we’re supposed to pretend he was not all of these things?
        IMO Steinberner has done much more to hurt baseball than Rose, Jackson and to be frank more than anyone in the history of the game.

        And you actually have people who think this guy should be in the H’oF which is a massive joke if it ever happens. Everything he has done and hand a hand in doing swept under a rug because of eventual success.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        *had a hand in

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        Everything he has done and hand a hand in doing swept under a rug because of eventual success.

        Just curious, but what bad stuff has George done that was swept under the rug? Everyone knows about his tax issues and the Spira/Winfield saga. What else?

      • number42is1 - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        Misterchain – I disagree.. regardless of what he was he still brought 5 rings home for the Yankees which is more than any other Owner living or dead. since his boys took over they have turned the team to shit (yes i am aware of the 2009 WS ring but that was in SPITE of a lot of decisions not because of). he is missed due to his no nonsense ways.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        Look, George was a huge failure until he stopped meddling and allow Gene Michael to control the team. If George was still running things back then Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter most likely would have been traded before they saw a MLB at bat.

        It’s a long laundry list of foolishness and shady behaviour, and when and only when he got the he;; out of the way did things turn around. And it wasn’t throwing around money and making headlines. It was trusting baseball people, scouting and developing their draft picks.

        When I saw “swept under the rug” it’s in reference to this idea held by many that George was great, he wasn’t, he was a mess. That he’s the reason for the Yankees success. As far as I’m concerned he just wrote the checks, and if he’s didn’t get out of the way and allow baseball people to do their jobs the Yankees would not have won anything.

        The games he played with managers over and over and over again is an embarrassment. Getting banned for baseball for illegal donations to Nixon and obstruction of justice is an embarrassment.
        The Winfield saga was an embarrassment
        Having a major hand in setting-up a system where the Pirates collect welfare checks for a decade didn’t and doesn’t help MLB. He’s a contributing factor as to why the NFL passed MLB in the 90’s.

        I find all the praise for George to be silly quite frankly

      • bigharold - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        “Look, George was a huge failure until he stopped meddling and allow Gene Michael to control the team.”

        From your post two things are apparent; .. 1. YOU HATE George Steinbrenner, and 2. you don’t know what you are talking about.

        George Steinbrenner took a team that was nothing more than an empty shell and within five seasons won a pennant. In seven season won two World Series, .. all of which was done without the benefit of Gene Michael. There is no doubt that Michael was an important part of the Yankees over the years but to suggest that he was the ONLY reason that the Yankees enjoyed success over the years is false and you you know it.

        Hate him all you want but during his tenure the Yankees won more games, division titles and WS championships than any other team in baseball. He took a ten million dollar investment, about 8.5 million after he got done transferring the parking rights to NYC, and turned into about a 2 BILLION dollar enterprise. That is success no matter how you measure it. And if you think that George Steinbrenner wasn’t the key man or single point of continuity in that effort you are delusional. Your statement that he “.. to be frank more than anyone in the history of the game.” is a factual inexactitude on the order of a bald face lie. It’s your rather empty opinion that is completely devoid of any supporting substance or fact.

        Steinbrenner said and did some profoundly stupid things in his time, .. and paid very publically for all of them. He absolutely earned very rebuke that was handed him but that means he also earned the lion’s share credit for what the Yankees success too. He never lost sight of the fact that he was first and foremost a sports entrepreneur. His business was baseball and that if his team won the finances would take care of themselves. Unlike so many of today’s owners that buy baseball teams as a result of their success in other business as a trophy which becomes just one more business they own. Steinbrenner wanted to win most of all and I do not fault him for that. He poured the resources back into the team and got the desired results. While I can jeer some of the stupid things he did over the years I can’t lose sight of the overall results. And, that doesn’t even begin to touch on the multitude of charitable things he did over the years. While one does eradicate the other you need look at the man in total. And that is neither revisionist history or attempting to sweep anything under the rug. That is a fair assessment of the man and his legacy.

        Hate him all you want but to paraphrase Joe DiMaggio,, .. I thank the good Lord the day he made George Steinbrenner the owner of the Yankees.

    • cur68 - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      As a non-Yankee fan I gotta agree here. I do miss him. He made the Yankees worse while at the same time more interesting, too. He was an old school owner who meddled, interfered with other players, his own players and tried to manage his managers. He gave great interviews, did bizarre things, all of which saw to it that people tuned in to watch baseball JUST to see The Boss get mad when The Empire floundered.

      Take it easy, wherever you are, Big George. I can only imagine what you’d have to say about the sate of The AL Beast right now. It keeps me warm on these cold winter days.

  2. sdelmonte - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    And that $10 million was less than what CBS paid when it bought the team in the 60s. George’s purchase might be the single greatest in sports history.

    • mrfloydpink - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      The only rival I see is the purchase of Babe Ruth’s contract from the Red Sox. Either way: #$@#$#$@# Yankees.

  3. watchfullhose - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    For better or worse, his purchase changed the game forever.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:55 PM


      • Old Gator - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:57 PM

        Okay, okay, we get it. Want to try beating a live horse next?

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:02 PM

        Is that all the Dennis Miller-wannabe has to say today? And mercy me look out! Old Gator thinking that beating dead horses isn’t 80% of what we do here on HBT.

  4. hushbrother - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    If the Boss was still alive, he would never have allowed Carlos Villanueva to get away. Quick action would have been taken. Heads would be rolling.

  5. cackalackyank - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Yeah, I think ole George did ok for himself and family. Conservative estimates would put the value of the Yankees at 1billion+. The quote on the management style is hilarious though. In retrospect one wonders, would the Yankees have acheived what they did, and would their value be what it is today if he had stuck by that statement. I’m thinking no.

  6. crawdaddybob - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Hey crotchjenkins….you’re an ignorant idiot. I’m not a Yankee fan; in fact, I strongly root the other way! But your comment it’s retarded and offensive!!

    • Alex K - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      “retarded and offensive”

      My goodness I hope you did that on purpose…

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        I guess you’re one of those people who fail at understanding that things and situations can be retarded and it is proper usage of the word.

        While referring to a person as retarded is when it become offensive.

        So many people rushing to be PC can’t even stop to think for a moment and understand why.

        Calling something retarded = fine
        Calling someone retarded = not fine

      • Alex K - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        I guess you are one of those people who fail at understanding the definition of the word retarded. To use it for a variation of stupid or dumb is offensive no matter what is being referenced.

        Please show me how crotchjenkins comment referenced is in any way retarded and I will gladly take my original comment back.

        So many people rush to call others too PC and can’t even stop to think for a moment why.

        Using retarded properly = fine
        Using retarded variation of dumb or stupid = not fine

  7. Stiller43 - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:35 AM


    That is a good one. Also a good one, art rooney purchased the steelers for 2,500 in 1933.

    • deepstblu - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      I think Tim Mara paid even less for the New York football Giants.

  8. makeham98 - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    I grew up in Red Sox country and have always despised the Yankees. But George took what was a sad sack remnant and restored it to greatness, which benefited all of baseball.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Ya it only took him 20 years, banishment from the game and multiple fiascos to do it.

      • bigharold - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        Were you born after 1980? Because that would explain a lot with regard to your lack of knowledge regarding baseball

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        Oh I’m sorry it was only an 18 year stretch that was snack dab under the influence of George where the Yankees won next to nothing.

        It was only the entire 80’s when George started meddling in the operation of the Yankees full time, and it was the 80’s when the Yankees were a dysfunctional joke.

        Excuse me if I don’t bother replying to fail garbage such as this in the future. Because there is no explaining your lack of knowledge and understanding of reality.

        George meddling full time Yankees won nothing. AKA the entire 80’s and early 90’s.
        The moment George stops

        Oh how I wish we could see into the alternate universe where George keeps on screwing with the Yanks ala Jerry Jones. That reality where Jeter never played for the Yankees because George traded him for a 30 something year old power hitter.

        You and your reply is a joke, try disputing something next time rather than letting me make you look stupid so easily.

      • tuberippin - Jan 3, 2013 at 6:37 PM

        You are a very, very bitter person.

      • bigharold - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:41 PM

        Clearly you aren’t aware that the NY Yankees won the most games in the 80s.

        “Oh how I wish we could see into the alternate universe where…”

        Where you know what you’re talking about? How do we get to that universe?

        Skip over the 70s where he took a derelict franchise over and in the 8 years remaining managed win three pennants and two WS. Ignore the fact that the Yankees actually won the division twice and won another pennant. Focus on on or two stories about Gene Michael because that really says it all because clearly Gene Michael was the Yankees only hope. Except that the one constant for the Yankees over nearly four decades was George Steinbrenner and the Yankees were the reigning WS champs when he died.

        Your lack of baseball acumen is exceeded only by you obvious hate of George Steinbrenner. Hey, .. wait a second, .. is that you Mike Lupica?

        Well at least George is dead know and won’t torment you sorry ass anymore!

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:06 PM

        All I know is this is hilarious because it’ s was true and represented the feelings of nearly EVERY Yankee fan at one point. And like I said, it only turned around once he stop meddling.

        I’ll quote it just in case the link doesnt work

        “Well, I wish I could say the same, but I must say, with all due respect, I find it very hard to see the logic behind some of the moves you have made with this fine organization. In the past twenty years, you have caused myself, and the city of New York, a good deal of distress as we have watched you take our beloved Yankees and reduced them to a laughing stock, all for the glorification of your massive ego.”

        Again, Hilarious because it was true

      • bigharold - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:11 AM

        “And like I said, it only turned around once he stop meddling.”

        You thesis is that George Steinbrenner was the problem all along and the ONLY reason the Yankees had any success was Gene Michael and you PROOF is George Constanza from Seinfeld? I repeat, .. how do we get to that alternate universe?

        You are a seriously damage unit my friend.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        You’re beyond stupid. Look you clueless buffoon, the Seinfeld episode if a sweet little window into the past of how YANKEE FANS felt about George.

        How did I know you would just something funny and turn it into something else, you’re pathetic and a stupid lil boy. Don’t bother replying as you won’t get a reply back. You keep pretending that George was a baseball guru and the Yankees wons because of he kept doing the same thing he did for the entire 80’s.

        You asked me if I was Born in the 80’s, no early 70’s but it’s YOU who sounds like a lil boy born in the 80’s who has COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN THE GEORGE HATE THAT WAS A REALITY FOR NEARLY 2 DECADES.

        Again, You’re an
        a Stupid Lil Boy
        a Revisionist Historian
        And Not Worthy of replies in the future

      • bigharold - Jan 4, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        “You asked me if I was Born in the 80′s, no early 70′s but it’s YOU who sounds like a lil boy born in the 80′”

        Then that explains it, .. when the Yankees winning pennants and WS in the 70s you were likely still pooping on yourself.

        Me, I’ve went to my first Yankee game as a kid in the mid 60s and have been a Yankee fan since long before George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees. If you want to completely ignore the Yankee success of the mid to late 70s, when your baseball God Gene Michael was a light hitting SS, .. juxtaposition to their standing when Steinbrenner took over the team, .. you go right ahead. But, spare me the BS lecture on revisionist history because you’re being more than a wee bit myopic.

        You want to hate Steinbrenner go right ahead but he took over a run down franchise and during his tenure won more games, more WS titles and turned a 10 million dollar investment into 2 billion. I don’t know where you come from but that is success no matter how you slice it.

        And the next time you jump feet first into an issue know what you are talking about and have a fact or two, they generally help. Unsubstantiated opinion is as useful as your misguided hatred of a dead man.

  9. jayscarpa - Jan 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    If I remember correctly George didn’t get involved until free agency. Once saw the media explosion the Yankees (and him) received after signing Hunter he was hooked – it stroked his ego and put fanny’s in the seats.

    Prior to that Gabe Paul ran the baseball show and did a good job of putting the team the team together with some awesome trades.

    • bigharold - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      Steinbrenner wasn’t happy about FA, .. he was interviewed and stated as much. But, he did see it’s potential and found a way to make it work.

  10. modellforprez - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    big stein can’t be floppin and twitching. big steins hungry costanza get me an eggplant calzone.

    • uwsptke - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      “How could you give $12 million to Hideki Irabu!”

      Ignoring the Yankees for a bit, these are the positive things I’ll focus on:

      – He once hosted SNL and was moderately funny. Especially the skit where he owned a grocery store with the worst employees ever, but when asked why he never did anything about it he responded with something like, “Well, you can’t just go around firing everybody. What kind of a boss would do that?”

      – The endless Seinfeld parodies.

      – Who else can get away with the turtleneck and blazer look?

      – And gosh darn it, he even knew when to die. Thanks to some oversight on the part of congress, the estate tax didn’t exist in 2010 allowing his heirs to inherit the team and his other assets mostly tax-free. There were reports at the time that his heirs may have had to sell the team in order pay the estate tax had he died in any other year.

      • bigharold - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:38 PM

        “There were reports at the time that his heirs may have had to sell the team in order pay the estate tax had he died in any other year.”

        Hate George all you want but as the say; The best revenge is living well. Or, as in George’s case dying well too, .. or at least timely! And, the Yankees were the reigning WS Champs when he died too.

  11. bux1022 - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Rip boss! The greatest owner in sports history!

  12. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    And for the record, the price for the Yankees was 8.8 million, in the end, the 10 million include a couple parking garages, that they sold back to CBS for 1.2 million.

    • Old Gator - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      Another example of Steinbrenner’s malfeasance? Sounds pretty astute to me. If we find out that the Wilpons wound up with them, maybe we’ll have to reconsider our glowing assessment of Steinbrenner.

      PS – no one who has had to suffer the Scrooge McLorias ownership of the Feesh, or Naimoli’s ownership of the Razed, or the McCourt regime in LA, is going to sit up late at night thinking of reasons to hate Steinbrenner. If you’re so discomfited by the fact of his mere existence, why don’t you go make a beer commercial with him? There’s something slightly misbegotten about a crusade against a guy who’s dead, you know?

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        Dennis Miller wants his shtick back

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        Oh and how was pointing out the fact that it was 8.8 rather than 10 anything other than pointing out a fact?

        There’s something slighty personality disordered about some old man who has an internet stick stolen from another old man.

        So using your logic, if you die, you’re above criticism. For a smart guy Old Gator, you’re an idiot

      • Old Gator - Jan 3, 2013 at 6:17 PM

        And for a schmuck, whatever you call yourself when you’re not dragging out that interminable handle of yours, you’re a…a…well, a schmuck.

  13. jimbo75025 - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Eh, not a Yankees fan but I miss the times when the owners actually had personalities (love them or hate them) instead of teams being owned by corporations.

  14. iladel90 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Check out this fun free baseball game

    Create & train players or run a team.

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