TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who died last July at the age of 80, was honored before New York’s spring training home opener.

A pregame ceremony before Saturday’s contest against Philadelphia included Steinbrenner’s wife Joan and the couple’s two daughters — Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal and Jessica Steinbrenner — placing roses on the interlocking N.Y. behind home plate. Steinbrenner’s granddaughter, Haley Swindal, sang the national anthem.

Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner also took part. Co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner, George Steinbrenner’s oldest son, is under the weather and missed the event.

“To be surrounded by so many friends, loved ones and Yankee fans as we ring in the new season makes today a very special day for our family,” the Steinbrenner family said in a statement. “Our father loved baseball and the New York Yankees, and the start of every baseball season brought out both the great fan and competitor in him”

“Since his passing last summer, the support and compassion shown to us by countless others has brought us great comfort, and today was another example of it. We are excited to begin another great season of Yankees baseball as we continue our father’s mission to bring another championship back to New York.”

The announced crowd of 11,122 at George Steinbrenner Field was the largest since the facility opened in 1996 as Legends Field.

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