It was fitting for George Steinbrenner to die on the morning of All-Star Game. The 80-year-old Yankees owner was a father of four, champion of the high-priced free-agent nab, smartypants businessman, hands-on boss, tremendously controvertial figure and, at heart, a true showman. And tonight, the All-Star Game is sure to turn into one massive, gushing Steinbrenner tribute. He’d have loved that. And his two sons surely will as well. Boys Hank Steinbrenner and Hal Steinbrenner have followed in their father’s footsteps, in more ways than one.
The two currently co-own the Yankees, and have largely run the team since 2007 (they officially took control in 2008). Hank, like his father, has become known as a man who speaks his mind, a man with a personality of equal size to his father’s. Also like his dad, Hank is dedicated to children.
It’s one of the lesser-known achievements of the Steinbrenner men: they’ve quietly dedicated their philanthropic efforts to children. George paid hospital bills for kids with cancer and offered financial aid, for college, to students of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
As for Hank, this past March, while at the Yankees spring training camp in Tampa, he was presented with a birthday cake by local schoolchildren in appreciation of his efforts to improve their lives. He’s been instrumental in paying for kids’ little league fees and uniforms. “We all need to reach out to the kids of this country, and make their lives better, because they are our future leaders,” Steinbrenner said. “We owe it to these kids to be there for them.”
Hal is the quieter of the sons, but no less powerful, and no less devoted to children. When reports surfaced, a few years ago, that he and Hank weren’t interested in heading up the team, Hal said that he had initially had some hesitations: “My kids are first for me, and I was very concerned about having to be out of town and miss a lot of their life.”
Hank and Hal have said they won’t sell the team after their father’s death, and I expect they’ll stick to their word. How about you?
PHOTO: INF Photo