Hank Steinbrenner

From BR Bullpen

Henry G. Steinbrenner III

Biographical Information[edit]

Hank Steinbrenner was co-owner and managing general partner of the New York Yankees alongside his younger brother, Hal Steinbrenner. He inherited the team on his father, George Steinbrenner's death in 2010, although the two brothers had been running the team since 2007, when their father's illness forced him to curtail his daily activities.

While the two brother have let General Manager Brian Cashman make most baseball-related decisions since taking over, Hank quickly developed a reputation for being outspoken and for making ill-informed comments, in the mold of his father. Among some his more infamous statements in 2008, he said that the idea that there was a mass of Boston Red Sox fans across the country as a creation of ESPN, and criticized members of the Tampa Bay Rays for picking fights with Yankee players when they were being subsidized by the richer team through luxury tax payments.

In spring training of 2011, he made another sortie that reminded everyone of his father's less-inspired moments, blaming the team's "poor" performance in 2010 on the fact that players had celebrated too much following the 2009 World Series and, in a dig clearly aimed at team captain Derek Jeter who had built a luxury home in Tampa, FL over the previous off-season, were "too busy building mansions" and had become complacent. He was conveniently forgetting that the Yankees had been fighting neck-and-neck with the Rays all season for the best record in the major leagues, and made it all the way to the ALCS, where they lost a tightly-fought series against the Texas Rangers; no independent observers had accused the team of slacking off at all during the season. Steinbrenner had to apologize immediately for his remarks and clarify that he was not singling out Jeter, but dug himself a deeper hole by stating that his remarks were a "euphemism", thereby indicating that he did not know the meaning of that word either. His outburst brought him a rebuke from Commissioner Bud Selig as well, as Steinbrenner stated that the Commissioner supported changes to the revenue sharing and luxury tax system in the current round of collective bargaining with the Players Association; the Yankees were of course the largest payers into the system, given their enormous payroll. Selig had to publicly remind Steinbrenner that owners were not authorized to speak on labor-related issues during the ongoing negotiations.

After these initial outbursts, he decided to step back from being the face of Yankee ownership, letting his much more temperate brother take over, although he remained involved in key decisions. He retired to his first love, his thoroughbred farm in Ocala, FL. His health then deteriorated starting in the mid-2010s, further lowering his profile.

He passed away in April 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, although the Yankees stated that his passing was due to his long-standing health issues and not because of COVID-19.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Chris Bumbaca: "New York Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner dies at 63 after long illness", USA Today, April 14, 2020. [1]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Hank Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ Renaissance man, is gone far too early", USA Today, April 14, 2020. [2]

Related Sites[edit]