Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner dies at 63
Hank Steinbrenner, who with his younger brother became a co-owner of the New York Yankees upon the 2010 death of their father, George Steinbrenner, has died at the age of 63, the team announced Tuesday. The New York Post reports that Steinbrenner had a long-term health issue that was not caused by the novel coronavirus.
According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Steinbrenner had been battling a liver issue.
"Hank was a genuine and gentle spirit who treasured the deep relationships he formed with those closest to him," the Steinbrenner family said in a team-issued statement. "He was introduced to the Yankees organization at a very young age, and his love for sports and competition continued to burn brightly throughout his life. Hank could be direct and outspoken, but in the very same conversation show great tenderness and lightheartedness. More than anything, he set and example for all of us in how comfortably he lived enjoying his personal passions and pursuits. We are profoundly saddened to have lost him and will carry his memory with us always."
Hank Steinbrenner ascended to co-ownership of the Yankees, one of the world's most valuable pro sports franchises, even though he had "kept his distance from his father for most of his adult life," the New York Times reported in 2008, to concentrate instead on the family's horse-breeding business in Florida. On the official list of Yankees executives, he is listed one spot below brother and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner - more than 11 years younger - as a general partner and co-chairman.
And while Hal Steinbrenner became the face of the franchise's baseball dealings, Hank Steinbrenner adopted his father's famously combative tone in his public comments. In 2008, before George Steinbrenner's death but after he and his brother had assumed day-to-day operation of the team, Hank Steinbrenner took aim at the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees' chief rival.
"Red Sox Nation?" What a bunch of [expletive] that is," he said in an interview with the New York Times' Play magazine. "That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans.
"Go anywhere in America and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order."
The Yankees would win the World Series one year later, their first title since 2000. That team was managed by Joe Girardi, whom Hank Steinbrenner said had "a little more fire in his belly" that Joe Torre, Girardi's predecessor, who had led the team to four championships in five years and six World Series appearances in eight years.