Yankees Co-owner Hank Steinbrenner Dead at 63

John Healy
April 14, 2020 - 10:58 am
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Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner passed away at the age of 63 at his home in Clearwater, Fla. on Tuesday, according to the New York Post and later announced by the organization.

Hank, the eldest son of George Steinbrenner, was battling a longstanding illness. It was not COVID-19-related.

The Yankees released a statement:

“Hank was a genuine and gentle spirit who treasured the deep relationships he formed with those closest to him. 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 lfie. Hank could be direct and outspoken, but in the very same conversation show great tenderness and light-heartedness. 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.”

Hank turned 63 on April 2 and was surrounded by his family, per the report. He is survived by his brother, Hal, sisters, Jessica and Jennifer, four children and grandaughter. He was in his 13th year as general partner of the Yankees and 11th as co-chairperson.

The Steinbrenner brothers both inherited ownership of the Yankees from their father — who died in 2010 —with Hal becoming principal owner and general partner and Hank as co-chairman.

The two brothers had originally started to take over day-to-day operations of the franchise in 2007 when George's health began to deteriorate, and Hank appeared as if he were the one who was in line to fill his father's shoes. He was outspoken and sometimes controversial, much like George, but eventually it was Hal who took on the primary ownership role while Hank stepped into the background and became less of a public figure.

He rarely made appearances on behalf of the team in recent years due to his illness.

Hank was active in the family horse business and was a board member of the Ocala Breeders Sales Company. He also helped his son, George Michael IV, form Steinbrenner Racing in the IndyCar circuit.

But Yankees radio broadcaster Suzyn Waldman told WFAN's "Moose and Maggie" on Tuesday that Hank's legacy will be an amatuer baseball program he started, called Hank's Yanks.

"What he did was get kids together frm the Bronx, Brooklyn, East New York and he started a baseball team," Waldman said. "And through these years there are 50 kids now playing professional ball, two in the major leagues – one with the Pirates now and Joe Plumbo, who was in the Rangers organization – but this in particular has sent 100 kids to college. ... Hank’s legacy is this: it’s Hank's Yanks. It’s all those kids, college kids who have a chance because of Hank Steinbrenner."