Editor’s Note: As part of WFAN’s 30th anniversary celebration, from May 1-12, we asked you to vote on the best local sports figures over the past 30 years. Over the course of two weeks, we are revealing the top-10 vote getters.
NEW YORK (WFAN) — Say what you will about George Steinbrenner, but he was certainly one of a kind.
The Yankees’ owner from 1973 until his death in 2010, Steinbrenner was brash, bombastic and unpredictable — but always hungry to win.
The Yankees won seven World Series and 10 American League pennants with “The Boss” as the boss. The heyday of the Steinbrenner era came from 1996-2000, when the Bronx Bombers won four world titles in five years.
Steinbrenner, however, also was a magnet for controversy. He was twice suspended by Major League Baseball — once for making illegal contributions to President Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign and once for hiring a gambler to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield. He also changed managers 19 times from 1973 to 1990.
But the mark Steinbrenner left on the Yankees’ already-rich legacy is undeniable, both on the field and in the coffers. In fact, when he and some fellow investors purchased the team in 1973, they paid $10 million. When he died, the franchise was worth an estimated $1.5 billion.
“George was ‘The Boss,’ make no mistake,” Hall of Famer Yogi Berra told ESPN just after Steinbrenner died. “He built the Yankees into champions, and that’s something nobody can ever deny. He was a very generous, caring, passionate man. George and I had our differences, but who didn’t?”