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Today in Sports History: 1/3 | Group Led by George Steinbrenner III Buys New York Yankees

Today in sports history, one of the most iconic franchises in sports was bought from CBS. The New York Yankees were bought by a 12-man group, led by George Steinbrenner III and Michael Burke, for $10 million. Steinbrenner would go on to be the owner of the New York Yankees until his death in 2010.

Controversy Surrounds George Steinbrenner III

In the initial investment, Steinbrenner actually had a very small percentage. He only had about a 2% ownership stake when it was purchased. Over the years, Steinbrenner slowly acquired more stake in the team, as other investors either died or sold. By the time of Steinbrenner’s death, he owned a 57% stake of the Yankees.

Steinbrenner was known for his abrasive personality. His “rules” for Yankees’ players were also constantly scrutinized. The most scrutinized “rule” was a facial hair policy in place for all Yankees players. His rule was that there was to be no facial hair below the upper lip.

Under Steinbrenner, the Yankees became ruthless. He was well known for firing managers and off-loading players after the first sign of lacking performance. Former Yankees general manager Bob Watson said about Steinbrenner: “If things go right, they’re his team. If things go wrong, they’re your team.”

George Steinbrenner III new york yankees
Credit: Bill Turnbull/NY Daily News Archive

Success On and Off the Field for New York Yankees

Steinbrenner can be scrutinized for many things. The one thing that people can’t deny is the success of the New York Yankees under his ownership. The Yankees won seven World Series titles and 11 American League pennants under his tenure. To this day, the Yankees are among the most valuable sports franchises in the world.

Off the field, Steinbrenner was a very charitable man and gave to many causes. He established the Silver Shield Foundation, which gives money to fund education for children and spouses of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. Over the years, Steinbrenner also supported multiple charities, such as the Boys and Girls Club and the Salvation Army.

While Steinbrenner certainly got into his fair share of trouble, it’s impossible to deny his impact on the New York Yankees and the game of baseball. From the purchase of the Yankees in 1973 until his death in 2010, it could be argued that there wasn’t a more polarizing or important figure in the MLB than George Steinbrenner III.

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