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Thoughts on Steinbrenner's passing

Thoughts on Steinbrenner's passing

Dozens of people inside and outside the world of baseball chimed in on Tuesday about their thoughts on the passing of New York Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner III.

"On behalf of Baseball, I am very saddened by the passing this morning of George Steinbrenner. 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."
MLB Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig

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"To me, one of the things that is not talked enough about Mr. Steinbrenner is how giving of a man he is, and a man that really cared about people and tried to change people's lives, whether it was a first chance, a second chance or a third chance. And that's who he really was."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi

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"He just was great to me. He always was great to me my whole career during the good times, the bad times. His family has been great to me. I always had a great relationship with him. He was always good to be around. He was tough, but he was always fair, and he was great to be around."
Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte

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"For me, in 2004 when I came in, he was basically congratulating me for coming into the New York Yankee organization, and within the first two minutes he said the words, "We have to win a world championship" about three or four times. So, really quickly I got a good idea of what his front-and-center thoughts were from Day 1."
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez

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"You know what the thing is, I have a great relationship with 'The Boss.' I've known him since I was 18 years old. You know, obviously there's a respect factor because he's the owner and, you know, I work for him, but we were more friends than anything. I'd go visit him in the offseason because we both live in Tampa. We would have bets on Ohio State/Michigan football games. I've been in trouble a couple times. We've filmed commercials with him dancing. It's tough, because he's more than just an owner to me. He's a friend of mine. He will be deeply missed."
Yankees captain Derek Jeter

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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. George will be remembered as one of the most influential and renowned owners of a franchise in sports history. He leaves a legacy of winning and an unwavering passion for success. My wife Anita and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees organization. George was very special to me, and I loved him."
Cubs manager Lou Piniella

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"My family and I are sad to learn of the passing of George Steinbrenner early this morning. He will be truly missed by players, fans and all of Major League Baseball. George will be remembered for the leader he was, the championships he brought into being and his many contributions to America's Pastime. My family and all of Cubs Nation send our condolences to the Steinbrenner family, the Yankees and their fans."
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts

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"George Steinbrenner was passionate not only about the Yankees, but also all of baseball. Everyone in and around Major League Baseball, along with millions of Yankee fans, will miss George's larger-than-life presence. I knew George personally for more than 35 years, and I was very fond of him. George was very proud that his beloved Yankees were left in good hands. The entire Marlins organization joins me in extending condolences to the Steinbrenner family."
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria

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"This is a huge loss for baseball. George was a true winner. I worked for him for 10 years, and we got along great. He was tough guy, but he was also very nice, and he had a big heart. ... I remember when the annual Winter Meetings were really exciting, guys like George Steinbrenner, Ted Turner [Atlanta Braves] and Brad Corbett [Texas Rangers] really made them something to look forward to - they were always the life of the meetings. ... George will be greatly missed, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to the Yankees."
Braves manager Bobby Cox

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"I have known George Steinbrenner since we purchased the Astros in 1993. He was one of the few owners still involved today. He welcomed me as an owner and said that they were looking for new ideas, marketing, and leadership in Major League Baseball. Each time he was at an owners' meeting, he went out of his way to extend his friendship, and he certainly made me feel at home. ... He built the Yankees into the preeminent team in MLB. Over the years, they have been consistently competitive and often world champions. The new Yankee Stadium he built is one of the finest sports facilities in the world. He was truly a leader to be admired."
Astros CEO Drayton McLane

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"The Washington Nationals and the Lerner family are deeply saddened by the loss of George Steinbrenner - a monumental figure of the baseball world for more than 35 years. He will be remembered as a driven competitor and champion, but also a man who gave much to the people and communities he loved. George was a one-of-a-kind owner, sports figure and man. He will be missed. Our condolences go out to the Steinbrenner family, the Yankees organization and Yankees fans everywhere."
Nationals team statement

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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."
Rangers owner Tom Hicks

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"The Orioles are saddened to learn of the passing of George Steinbrenner. 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. On behalf of the Orioles organization, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife, Joan, and the members of his family."
Orioles principal owner Peter Angelos

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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."
White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf

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"We are saddened by the passing of George Steinbrenner and extend our condolences to the Steinbrenner family and the New York Yankees organization. ... George was a tremendous competitor. His passion for winning motivated all of us in baseball. When George took over the ballclub, he reinvented the Yankees. He did everything within his power to put a championship team on the field."
Michael and Marian Ilitch (Michael owns the Tigers, and the two co-own the Detroit Red Wings)

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"He stirred up a lot of controversy, but he always knew how to win, and how to find a way to win. His passion was to win, regardless of the cost. He built probably one of the greatest organizations in professional sports. ... There are a lot of people who didn't like him because he bought players or whatever. But that was his business. He wanted to win, regardless of the cost. He wanted to win. He made it happen so many times. I thought a lot of him."
Longtime manager and Marlins special assistant Jack McKeon

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"Our hearts and prayers go out to the entire Steinbrenner family. This is a sad day not only for Yankee fans, but for our entire city, as few people have had a bigger impact on New York over the past four decades than George Steinbrenner. 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. George invested his heart and soul into the Yankees, and his competitive fire helped usher in new eras of Yankee greatness, reclaiming the team's long tradition of excellence and its position as the most successful franchise in the history of American sports. He was a champion who made New York a better place, and who always gave back to the city he loved."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

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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."
MLB Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner

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"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. The rise and success of his teams on the field and in the business marketplace under his leadership are a testament to his skill, drive, and determination. All of us at the Mets send our deepest condolences to his wife Joan, his sons Hank and Hal, daughters Jennifer and Jessica, his grandchildren, and everyone at the Yankees organization."
Mets team statement

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"When people finally look back, now that he's passed and his day has come, and they look back at what he built for the New York Yankees, remarkable. The impact that he's had on baseball, the impact that he's had on young people, the impact that he's had on other people's lives - there is a man that's resting today that can rest in peace that has took his life on and did tremendous greatness with it and gave it back to help that struggle to show them the way."
Former Yankees outfielder Darryl Strawberry, on ESPN's SportsCenter

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"It is with profound sadness that the family of George M. Steinbrenner III announces his passing. He passed away this morning in Tampa, Fla., at age 80. ... He was an incredible and charitable man. First and foremost he was devoted to his entire family - his beloved wife, Joan; his sisters, Susan Norpell and Judy Kamm, his children, Hank, Jennifer, Jessica and Hal; and all of his grandchildren. ... 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's family

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"His legacy, they're going to have to look at him as one of the top owners in the history of sports. They will. You just look at the record, where [the Yankees] came from, with the championships and stuff, they'll look at him as one of the most forceful, or the guy with the most impact in professional sports. That's where they'll start, that's where they'll finish. There will be much said in between, but they'll say he was one of the top executives or owners in all of sports."
Former Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield, on ESPN's SportsCenter

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"I was greatly saddened to learn today of the death of George Steinbrenner. Everyone involved in the game had great respect for what the Yankees accomplished during his tenure, both on and off the field. George Steinbrenner shared the players' competitive drive: his goal was for his team to win. ... I am glad that I had a chance to be a part of Baseball while George Steinbrenner was on the scene."
Former MLBPA Executive Director Donald Fehr

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"George Steinbrenner's impact on both the game of baseball and in the Tampa Bay community will have an everlasting effect on us all. We send our deepest sympathies to the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees organization."
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg

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"I would prefer to remember him just as he was the first time I met him. I was managing the Red Sox and sitting in the dugout several hours before a game at Yankee Stadium. He was on the mound in a white shirt pitching batting practice to his son. A father throwing to his son. ... 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 senior baseball advisor Don Zimmer

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"I think he was one of the most colorful people in baseball. Obviously, a lot of people don't realize when he bought the team they were drawing, like, 500,000 people a year and they do that in about a week now. ... He had one statement I remember back when his team wasn't doing too wel,l and he talked about how it was his responsibility for his fans - the guys driving trucks, driving taxis and working in the New York area - to put a winner on the field. So I just thought if you're going to own a team, it's part of your responsibility to be a part of the community and put a competitive team on the field."
Angels owner Arte Moreno

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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. My heart goes out to his entire family. He will be deeply missed in New York, Tampa and throughout the world of baseball. It's only fitting that he went out as a world champ."
Dodgers manager Joe Torre

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"The amazing thing about Steinbrenner was, he was bigger than the players. I can't think of a player that dominated New York sports as he did over the years. I know DiMaggio was great, I know Mantle was great and Ruth and Gherig. He was right there with them. And there's no question what the commissioner said - he was a giant in the game of baseball as an owner, and maybe the biggest giant of all owners."
Former Yankees second baseman Jerry Coleman, on ESPN's SportsCenter

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"I had a lot of respect for Mr. Steinbrenner. All the thoughts are with his family, I know they are going through a hard time right now. ... He was great for baseball, he was great to a lot of people. I have friends in New York and they say he would give jobs to people who really needed it. He was good to the community, and that's what I feel about it."
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz

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"Today we lost a great person, a great leader and a great American. There will never be anyone like George Steinbrenner. He was a winner."
Yankees President Randy Levine

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"There's not question that the passing of George leaves a tremendous void for the Yankees and for baseball. He really changed things in the order of baseball after he bought the Yankees in 1973, and basically it's turned out so great for baseball. His vision was to spend money to make money."
John Sterling, Yankees broadcaster for WCBS-AM radio

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"His legacy is going to be something that is so far-reaching, and you're going to read in the coming days about what he was like. I don't think we're ever going to see a person like this again."
Suzyn Waldman, Yankees broadcaster for WCBS-AM radio

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"We have in football [a term] we call running around the block. And if you run around the block, the ball-carrier will come right back. You have to go through the block. George never ran around the block. He went right through the guy trying to block him, and in that way you can get to the ball carrier with no gain. That was George. That was his approach. He did it with such a skill, he did it with flair, and he did it in a way that made it entertaining for all of us. He's irreplaceable. He's one of a kind. He certainly is a role model - has been, and will always be a role model for me."
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, on ESPN's SportsCenter

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"It's a very tough day for baseball. I knew George, and when we would win our division he would send me a personal letter. First time I met him was in 1984. They had a Double-A team in Nashville, and I had a good conversation with him. Then after that I talked to him some at his restaurant in Florida. Great gentleman."
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel

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"Obviously, it's a huge loss for the organization. He was a great man, he means a lot to the New York Yankees and he is going to be dearly missed."
Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte

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"I had the good fortune to call George Steinbrenner both partner and friend. I had the privilege to watch George as he built a system that ensured his beloved Yankees would have a strong foundation for sustained excellence. And then we fiercely competed in the American League. ... George Steinbrenner forever changed baseball, and hopefully some day we will see him honored in Baseball's Hall of Fame as one of the great figures in the history of sports."
Red Sox principal owner John Henry

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"George Steinbrenner was a formidable opponent and baseball's greatest rivalry will not be the same without him. As the longest tenured owner, he left an indelible mark on the game. I worked with George in my position as the owner of two Major League franchises and saw first-hand his passionate leadership style, his zeal for winning, and his love for the game. Above all, I knew George as a competitor and today Red Sox Nation lost a person who truly relished the prospect of facing the Red Sox and doing all he could to make sure his beloved Yankees would come out victorious."
Red Sox chairman Tom Werner

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"George Steinbrenner was one of the most important people in the history of the game, and his impact touched all aspects of the business of baseball. His vision for the Yankees turned around a once-struggling franchise and manifested itself in the form of seven World Series championships and 11 American League pennants. My respect for George went beyond the baseball field because of his sincere and longstanding commitment to charity, and to people in need. He had a giant heart, often well hidden from public view. Part of his legacy here in Boston will be the profound kindness he showed to numerous local philanthropic causes, especially as a regular and generous contributor each year to the Jimmy Fund of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute."
Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino

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"George was a friend of mine for over 30 years. He was truly the most influential and innovative owner in all of sports. He transformed baseball and sports broadcasting with the YES Network and brought New York seven World Series. Beyond that, he made the Yankees a source of great pride in being a New Yorker. 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 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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"I have great respect for George, a man from whom I learned so much about leadership, motivation and accountability during my tenure with the ballclub as media relations director from 1989-93. His overriding objective was to win, the sign of a true sportsman. You have to give him credit for always having the best interest of Yankee fans at heart, which was bringing a World Series winner to the Bronx, something he accomplished seven times. He bought a wilting franchise in 1973 and turned it into a worldwide brand through his vision, work ethic and overall Yankee ingenuity. He was a true friend of the Hall of Fame, and the history he helped create will always be preserved in Cooperstown."
National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson

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"George Steinbrenner served the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Board of Directors with great commitment and enthusiasm for the last 12 years since his election as a director in 1998. He shared his vision, kindness, love for the game and his generosity in so many ways as a key figure in the Board's leadership. His impact on the Museum's ability to preserve baseball history is felt at so many levels in the organization. Our sympathies are with the Steinbrenner family. He will be greatly missed in Cooperstown."
Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark

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"George was a friend who I admired very much. 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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"I am deeply saddened to hear the news of George Steinbrenner's passing. His vision, passion and commitment to winning, recharged the New York Yankees and revolutionized the game. ... I remember a man driven to succeed. He was the owner, 'The Boss' and No. 1 fan of the Yankees. Our relationship was built on mutual respect. I will never forget and always be grateful for how he treated me and my family both during my playing days and after I retired."
Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly

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"George Steinbrenner was the first owner to contact me to congratulate me when I purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers. From that day forward, we built a strong and meaningful friendship. He was a larger-than-life owner who cared deeply about winning. George helped shape the game of baseball during his incredible stewardship of the Yankees."
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt

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"[Yankees fans] knew that he was going to be relentless in his pursuit of putting the Yankees on top. He meshed real well with the mentality of the accountability factor in New York City. ... There was a sense of urgency with him every second of the day, and if you didn't bring that, you weren't going to survive. ... He wasn't without fault. I'm not trying to say that. But who isn't?"
Yankees manager Buck Showalter, on ESPN's SportsCenter

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"After the initial shock of it ... I mean we all knew he was wasn't doing real well ... there was a whole flood of memories. Ya know, George and I shared a lot of good times. When somebody passes -- if it's not tragic -- you think of the good times. George and I had a couple of things, but nothing like happened with Billy and Reggie. I know there was a mutual respect. I owe him. He had real impact on my life. He gave me a great opportunity. When I retired, he believed in me as an inexperienced third base coach. He was a complex man. He was a real knucklehead at head at times, but he believed in Willie Randolph. Gretchen [his wife] and I just started reminiscing, telling Steinbrenner stories. It made me feel good and bad. It's good to know we spent special times together. We were there, and he was drenched with champagne and we were hugging. You don't forget those moments."
Willie Randolph

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"Mr. Steinbrenner was a very special person in baseball. He was a guy who put his money where his mouth was. He sometimes agitated a lot of baseball people, but his love for the Yankees and winning was never doubted. I respect him a great deal. He gave me the opportunity to manage one of the greatest teams in all of baseball, and for that I am very grateful."
former Yankees manager and current Phillies senior advisor to the general manager Dallas Green

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"I think the owners, whether it's expressly or not, measure themselves against [Steinbrenner]. We try to emulate that desire to win every year no matter what. For our market, I'm trying to make it to the playoffs every year. There was a time for our franchise where maybe some thought that .500 was good enough, but every time I thought about that, I thought of George Steinbrenner. That's an ownership model that I try to emulate."
Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio

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"I always would have liked to have met him and shaken his hand. As a player, you want to play for owners that do everything in their power to win, and I think he's right up there at the top of the list. Although I haven't been around that long, I've been around long enough to know that I think he's one of the most influential people in baseball. As a player, you respect the owners that do everything in their power to help their team win."
Mets third baseman David Wright

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"He was a wonderful man, and he always was very nice to me. I never played for him, but I can tell you he wanted to be a winner and he did. That's the name of the game. Without ballplayers, you don't win. He wanted to win and spent money to win."
Former Major League first baseman and current White Sox community-relations representative Moose Skowron

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"I tell you, in my dealings with George, all you had to do was be nice to him and treat him with respect and he would reciprocate in spades. He always took care of us when we competed against the Yankees in the playoffs and had people to guide us around. We always took care of him and his party when they came to Seattle. I always had the utmost admiration and respect for George Steinbrenner and his family. He will be missed."
Mariners President Chuck Armstrong

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"You're talking about somebody who did a lot of good things for the game and for a lot of people. You have to respect him. ... He did what he was supposed -- try to win. If I ran a team, I would do the same thing if I had that kind of money. Go for the best, play the best and be the best. That's what he did."
Red Sox DH David Ortiz

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"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Steinbrenner family. He was proud of his Cleveland roots, and his unique place in sports history is unquestioned. ... His generosity provided many young people with opportunities, both educationally and recreationally."
Indians president Paul Dolan

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"On behalf of the International Baseball Federation, I am saddened to learn of the passing of George Steinbrenner. We send our most sincere thoughts to his friends and family during this difficult time.

During Mr. Steinbrenner's life, he helped the New York Yankees organization arrive at the forefront of the international baseball community. His entrepreneur vision and competitive spirit allowed the Yankees to become one of the preeminent organizations in the world of sports. The impact he leaves on our sport of baseball, and its culture, will remain for years to come."
International Baseball Federation president Riccardo Fraccari

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