"The Essence of Leadership": The Boss Remembered by Fans and Colleagues

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Jones and Steinbrenner were titans of their sports.

    George Steinbrenner was a New York icon, best known for his polarizing personality and his insatiable drive to live -- and win.  Across New York, and the country political leaders, fans and residents reacted to word of his death.

    Yankees legend Yogi Berra and  his wife said "George was "The Boss," make no mistake. 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? We became great friends over the last decade and I will miss him very much."

    Fans and New Yorkers also offered their thoughts on Steinbrenner's passing and what he meant to the Yankees franchise.   "He was the best. he brought baseball back to New York to be honest. Especially back to the Bronx.  He was crazy, but he did everything right," said Jeff Franz of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

    Video: Fans React to Steinbrenner Death

    [NY]Video: Fans React to Steinbrenner Death
    New Yorkers react to the death of legendary New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

    Another fan was shocked to get word.  "Wow, I'm shocked. I didn't even know he passed away.  I think his legacy will be carried on," said Fritz Devonish of Harlem.

    Gov. David Paterson noted in a statement this morning, “Opposing players and fans may have bristled at his outspoken leadership over the years, but it was only because they wished they had a Steinbrenner of their own.”

    Kevin Routledge of the Bronx updated his Facebook status to reflect his feelings, "Wow....the world won't be the same without George Steinbrenner. I thank him for being the best owner in baseball & making the Yankees who they are.....R i P[sic]"

    Javier Daniel, a lifelong Mets fan even made it clear that "The  Boss" still had something to give all of baseball. "While i can't stand them, I must say that I will miss George Steinbrenner - he turned the city into a treasure trove of titles, as it should be. RIP, Boss."

    Sen. Kristen Gillibrand released a statement noting, “George's single-minded drive in the pursuit of excellence and his devotion to family inspired people far beyond the baseball diamond.  He will be greatly missed by those in pinstripes and baseball fans in New York and throughout the world.”

    Steinbrenner was always a controversial figure. "I feel bad that he passed away....I don't like the trades that he did. He let go of a lot of people that he should have kept....He was very, very stubborn," said Rosie Munez of Flushing, Queens.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg has weighed in on “The Boss,” “He was a champion who made New York a better place, and who always gave back to the city he loved. He has left an indelible legacy on the Yankees, on baseball, and on our city, and he leaves us in the only way that would be appropriate: as a reigning world champion. 
      
    "He was an incredible and charitable man,'' his 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.''

    Sen. Charles Schumer said, “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.  When he bought the Yankees in 1973 the franchise was moribund and he quickly restored them to greatness."

    Ruben Diaz, Jr., the Bronx Borough President also weighed in on the death of Steinbrenner’s death, “Today I join 1.4 million Bronxites, and Yankee fans across the world, in mourning the passing of a great man."

    Another local politician, Congressman Jose E. Serrano had just started his political career when Steinbrenner took the over the reigns of the franchise.  “He joins the other Yankee legends in heaven today, and will go down as one of the most important figures both in Yankee and baseball history. The work that he did to return our beloved franchise to its historical dominance will be remembered as one of the more remarkable turnarounds in baseball history.”

    Others around the country remembered "The Boss," in their own words:

    "George was a giant of the game and his devotion to baseball was surpassed only by his devotion to his family and his beloved New York Yankees. He was and always will be as much of a New York Yankee as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and all of the other Yankee legends.

    "I have known George ever since he entered the game in 1972. He was my dear friend for nearly four decades. Although we would have disagreements over the years, they never interfered with our friendship and commitment to each other. Our friendship was built on loyalty and trust and it never wavered. We were allies and friends in the truest sense of the words." — baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

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    "I will always remember George Steinbrenner as a passionate man, a tough boss, a true visionary, a great humanitarian, and a dear friend. I will be forever grateful that he trusted me with his Yankees for 12 years." — Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre.

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    "George was like a father figure to me. He treated me well, he treated me fair and he gave me a wonderful opportunity to play and manage the game we all love." — Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella.

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    "He was a champion who made New York a better place, and who always gave back to the city he loved. He has left an indelible legacy on the Yankees, on baseball, and on our city, and he leaves us in the only way that would be appropriate: as a reigning world champion." — New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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    "I remember a man driven to succeed. He was the owner, 'The Boss' and number one fan of the Yankees." — Dodgers hitting coach and former Yankees star Don Mattingly.

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    "His impact on the game is impossible to measure. If you were a Yankee fan there was no better owner because he would do anything at any cost to put the best team on the field." — Rays advisor Don Zimmer.

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    "George Steinbrenner's passion for the game of baseball helped revive one of the game's most storied franchises, and in the process ushered in the modern era of baseball business operations. Mr. Steinbrenner understood and embraced the power of the players, and he put this knowledge to good use in establishing the Yankees as one of the sports world's most iconic brands." — Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

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    "George Steinbrenner was too complex a person to adequately describe in a short statement, but he was a great friend of mine and he will be missed. His impact on the game cannot be denied." — Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

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    "Who else could be a memorable character on a television show without actually appearing on the show? You felt George even though he wasn't there. That's how huge a force of personality he was." — comedian Jerry Seinfield.

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    "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. George will be greatly be missed but his legacy will carry on in the hearts and minds of all baseball fans." — former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

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    "We have lost a true leader in sports — someone who not only saw the big picture but helped create the scene on the canvas." — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

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    "As an active participant in the organizational direction and operations of the New York Yankees, his name is as synonymous with that franchise as any of the legendary athletes who have played in pinstripes." — Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

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    "In his own unique style, George Steinbrenner built one of the finest Major League Baseball teams in the league, and he did it with tenacity as well as total allegiance and commitment to put the Yankees in a position to compete every year for a championship. I know the franchise and especially New York baseball fans will miss him greatly. He promised them a winner, and he delivered." — Tom Hicks, the outgoing owner of the Texas Rangers.

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    "George was personable, friendly and truly cared about his franchise and the fans. We always admired his drive to be the best." — Michael and Marian Ilitch. Michael Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers and Michael and Marian Ilitch are co-owners of the Detroit Red Wings.

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    "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!" — Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain, from his Twitter account.

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    "He was a giant in our game and he built an empire. All he was was a winner. He wanted to give the fans a winner, and that's exactly what he did." — Dodgers Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda.

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    "For new franchise owners like myself, he was a model of how to build a dynasty team and what can be achieved if you have enough heart and vision. He was an absolute original." — New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

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    "George Steinbrenner was a dynamic personality in sports and in business. He was the ultimate competitor in both worlds. All of us in the business of sports want to win; that is the objective. George personified that ambition." — New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch.

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    "I will remember him as a winner whose passion and enthusiasm became part of the fabric of New York City. He was an inspiration and represented the essence of leadership." — New York Jets owner Woody Johnson.

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    "From his playing days at Williams College to his coaching days at Purdue and Northwestern, it was clear that George Steinbrenner was a product of the gridiron. We will miss his passion for giving back to our sport, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends." — former NFL quarterback Archie Manning.

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    "He had a tremendous impact on the Olympic movement in the U.S. He was devoted to sport and the pursuit of excellence and because of that, a generation of Olympic athletes have benefited." — U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst.

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    "While the public face of George Steinbrenner was a demanding owner, he was extremely generous to others. Many acts of kindness were bestowed to those in need, with most of those acts going unnoticed except by those who benefited." — Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

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    "I met George when I was 9 years old on a baseball field in a Cleveland public park. I prefer to remember him as a young man who encouraged girls and boys to play sports with enthusiasm, skill and courage. He taught me to throw overhand and to slide. And over the years he was consistently kind to me whenever I ran into him — for which I will always be grateful." University of Miami president Donna Shalala.

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    "We will always remember George Steinbrenner's love of music and his love of The Ohio State University Marching Band." — Jon Waters, the assistant director of Ohio State's marching band.

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    "As much as people rightfully today will give George Steinbrenner tremendous accolades for the almost 40 years of New York Yankees success, I hope no one will overlook or forget the immense impact that he has had on the development of some of the most successful U.S. Winter and Summer Olympic teams in history." — NBC Sports and Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol.

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    "He was a staunch supporter of athletes. He contributed to swimmers, bobsledders, figure skaters and others through the years." — former International Baseball Federation president Harvey Schiller.