The Sports World Reacts to George Steinbrenner's Death

By Lauren Bertolini
|  Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010  |  Updated 1:13 PM CDT
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FILE - This Oct. 21, 1981, file photo shows New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner working at his desk at Yankee Stadium in New York, before Game 2 of the World Series. On the wall behind Steinbrenner is an autographed photo of Cary Grant. A person close to George Steinbrenner says the Yankees owner died Tuesday morning, July 13, 2010. (AP Photo/File)

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In the aftermath of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner's death, tributes poured in from current and former players, loved ones and fans. Steinbrenner, a controversial and polarizing figure in the sports world, who was banned from baseball twice, yet led the club to seven World Championships, suffered a fatal heart attack early Tuesday at 80.

"It is with profound sadness that the family of George M. Steinbrenner III announces his passing," Steinbrenner's family said in a statement. "He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again."

Steinbrenner was "one of the top owners in the history of sports," said Dave Winfield, whose tumultuous relationship with Steinbrenner led to the Yankee owner's three-year suspension from baseball in 1990.

"George was The Boss, make no mistake. He built the Yankees into champions and that’s something nobody can ever deny," Yankees hall of fame catcher Yogi Berra said in a statement.

Berra continued, "George and I had our differences, but who didn’t? We became great friends over the last decade and I will miss him very much."

"George was a demanding owner, but very caring, very supportive," Lou Piniella, a former Yankees player and manager, told the St. Petersburg Times. He bought a struggling franchise and turned it into a dynasty. He's going to be known as the most influential owner in the history of sports."

"He was a hard person, but he wanted to win and that’s the one thing I will always remember," Bob Watson, a former Yankees player and GM, told MLB.com. "All the things that he did that turned people off, his main goal was winning for the Yankees and New York."

"George was a friend who I admired very much," Tommy Lasorda, longtime Dodgers manager, tweeted. "He was a visionary, a builder and a giant in our game. All he wanted to do was WIN, and he did."

"Baseball will miss him. He did a lot of great things – and some not so great – but it's a sad day for baseball, no doubt about it," Don Zimmer, former Yankees bench coach, told Tampa Bay Online. "He was a winner, and he made the Yankees a winner."

"He was like a father I never had," Daryl Strawberry, who played on Yankees World Series winners in 1996 and 1999, told ESPN. "The Boss loved his players. He cares about people. That's what a lot of people don't understand about him."

"The most significant, the most impactful owner that our sport has ever seen," said Aaron Boone, whose home run against the Red Sox in the 2003 American League Championship Series propelled the Yankees into the World Series.

"George Steinbrenner's Yankees represent the will to overcome all odds which is precisely the will New Yorkers display when meeting every challenge they face," former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani told NY1.

"We all suffered a huge loss today! Mr. Steinbrenner was a great man, great owner, that did so many amazing things. You will truly be missed!" Joba Chamberlain, relief pitcher for the Yankees, tweeted.

"“The passing of George Steinbrenner marks the end of an era in New York City baseball history. George was a larger than life figure and a force in the industry," Mets owners Jeff and Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz told NY1.

"First and foremost this man was a winner. From a person with my perspective, he was an inspiration in the area of doing everything possible - within the rules - to win," Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones said in a statement.

"Few people have had a bigger impact on New York over the past four decades than George Steinbrenner," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told ESPN. "George had a deep love for New York, and his steely determination to succeed combined with his deep respect and appreciation for talent and hard work made him a quintessential New Yorker."

"Like New York and like the Yankees, George Steinbrenner was a champion. He was someone about whom you can truly say that there will never be another one like him," New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

"We will never see another like George M. Steinbrenner III," YES' clubhouse reporter Kimberly Jones, tweeted.

Adam Schefter posted to Twitter, "RIP, George Steinbrenner. Bob Sheppard already is there to announce your arrival."

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