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Sports

'His Love For Sports, Competition Burned Brightly': Yankees Co-Owner 'Hank' Steinbrenner, 63

Hank Steinbrenner
Hank Steinbrenner Photo Credit: News4 New York

Hank Steinbrenner "set an example for all of us in how comfortably he lived," his family said Tuesday as news of the New York Yankees' general partner and co-chairperson's death spread.

Henry G. Steinbrenner, who turned 63 earlier this month, died surrounded by his family at his home in Clearwater, Florida after a battle with a long illness, they said, adding that it wasn't related to the coronavirus.

Hank, who was a general partner and co-chairperson of the organization, was the eldest son of George Steinbrenner.

At one time he'd been considered the successor to his father to run the New York Yankees. His brother, Hal, had become the face of the franchise in recent years, however.

"Hank Steinbrenner was in line to run the Yankees after his father’s passing and for a brief time when his father was ill both Hank and Hal ran the team," Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted Tuesday morning. "Hal morphed into the front man over time. Hank was much more like his dad, shoot from the hip, glib."

Among his more notable quotes: “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.”

"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 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," they said.

"Hank could be direct and outspoken, but in the very same conversation show great tenderness and light-heartedness," the family added. "More than anything, he set an 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."

His obituary continues:

"Born April 2, 1957, and raised in his birthplace of Cleveland, Ohio, Mr. Steinbrenner was the eldest of four children by former Yankees Principal Owner George M. Steinbrenner III and his wife, Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann).

"Mr. Steinbrenner was in his 13th season as a general partner of the New York Yankees and his 11th season as co-chairperson of the club. Along with Managing General Partner / Co-Chairperson Hal Steinbrenner, Hank was responsible for overseeing all areas of the club's business and baseball operations, and was directly involved in player negotiations, long-term player recruitment goals and overall club strategy.

"He spent many decades passionately involved in the breeding, raising and racing of horses, serving as a Vice President and Director of Bay Farms Corporation since 1985 and as a longtime member of the board of the Ocala Breeders Sales Company.

"Mr. Steinbrenner attended Culver Military Academy and Central Methodist College in Missouri. Over the course of his career, he held additional roles as chairman of Minch Transit Company and vice president of Mid-Florida Hotels Corporation. In 2000, he coordinated a multi-year partnership with Gwynn Racing to field a Gwynn/Steinbrenner top fuel Yankees dragster on the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Drag Racing Tour.

"Joined by his son, George Michael Steinbrenner IV, Mr. Steinbrenner reentered the world of competitive racing in 2016, contributing to the formation of Steinbrenner Racing. 

"After participating two seasons in the Indy Lights developmental circuit in 2017 and 2018, the group announced a partnership with Harding Racing in September 2018. The new team began racing in 2019 as Harding Steinbrenner Racing, competing on the IndyCar circuit with George Michael as the youngest team owner in IndyCar history. 

"Just two races into its first season in IndyCar, the team took the checkered flag on March 24, 2019, at the Circuit of Americas in Austin, Tex., as George Michael became the youngest owner to win a race in the history of the IndyCar Series. 

"At the conclusion of the year, the team announced it was uniting with Andretti Autosport to race under the Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport banner in 2020.

"At the time of his passing, Mr. Steinbrenner served on the boards of the YES Network and Gold Shield Foundation and was involved in a number of not-for-profit causes and children's charities in New York and Tampa Bay, including The Joshua House, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, Gigi's Playhouse Tampa, The Children's Dream Fund and the New York Yankees charitable foundations.

"He is survived by four children, daughters Jacqueline and Julia, and sons George Michael IV and John, one granddaughter, Anabel, and his siblings, Jennifer, Jessica and Hal, and their families.

"During this time of mourning, the family respectfully asks for the privacy needed to grieve this tremendous loss.

"In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Friends of Joshua House Foundation (www.friendsofjoshuahouse.org; P.O. Box 26333, Tampa, FL 33623, 813-263-3469) or to a charity of one's choosing."

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