My only actual memory of Mr. George Steinbrenner goes a little something like this. I was working at Sears hardware in the mall which no longer stands next to Raymond James Stadium and Legends Field. One day I had to run over to Sporting Goods to cover the register for a friend who was off the sales floor. I ended up meeting the General Manager of the Yankees. I got his business card and expressed my interest in interning for the summer. He told me my chances were slim, but liked my aggressiveness and said to keep in touch. Boy did I! I called him every few days for weeks, until he finally said to come in for an interview. While I was waiting the word for the introduction and interview to start, I was reading a sports illustrated in the lobby that had Darryl Strawberry on the cover. I was a little jumpy with so much riding on the interview, well as the stress built, and I was feeling a little overwhelmed, I heard a couple of voices from around the corner, and as I looked up, I saw Darryl Strawberry and George Steinbrenner walking through the lobby, chatting as if they were just two regular employees… It was a surreal moment and I will never forget it. It gave me a burst of confidence just from witnessing the confidence they exuded. I nailed the interview, had a blast and got a job at Raymond James working with Bucs! I did not get the position at Legends, but the Bucs job was just as good, and I will always remember Steinbrenner in that moment, proud, confident and one of the guys.
TAMPA – New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, an American icon who was born on the Fourth of July, a sports tycoon whose bluster and larger-than-life persona helped return baseball’s most storied franchise to glory, died Tuesday at the age of 80 after suffering a heart attack in his adopted hometown of Tampa.
“He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports,” his family said in a statement released by Major League Baseball. “He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again.”
Funeral arrangements will be private. There will be an additional public service with details to be announced at a later date.
He was honored by family and staff members on July 2, two days before his birthday, with a surprise party at Steinbrenner Field, spring home of the Yankees. On May 16, he and his family appeared at the dedication of George M. Steinbrenner High School in northwest Hillsborough County. Steinbrenner smiled as he received a standing ovation from students and school officials. He was presented a copy of the school’s first yearbook and a crystal heart inscribed with “heart of a warrior.”
It’s not a coincidence that Steinbrenner High’s athletic teams have the “Warrior” nickname. Since making Tampa his adopted home after purchasing the Yankees in 1973, Steinbrenner has been relentless as he carved out a legacy as unique as the franchise he swore to uphold.
Recognized as a baseball maverick, Steinbrenner has deep roots in Tampa and is beloved here for his philanthropy, generosity and community spirit.
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