Steinbrenner appears on Hall of Fame ballot

Steinbrenner appears on Hall of Fame ballot

NEW YORK -- George M. Steinbrenner will be among a group of 12 expansion era candidates considered for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The case to enshrine Steinbrenner, the longtime Yankees principal owner who passed away on July 13 at age 80, will be reviewed and voted upon at baseball's Winter Meetings by a 16-member electorate. The results of the vote will be announced on Dec. 6.

Through his purchase of a downtrodden Yankees franchise in 1973, Steinbrenner became one of the game's best-known personalities -- a demanding type who earned the long-standing nickname "The Boss."

Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees from the CBS Broadcasting Company for $8.7 million and reinjected capital and hope into the dormant franchise, overseeing 11 American League pennants and seven World Series championships during his 37-year tenure.

"Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa," Steinbrenner once said.

Others to be considered include: former players Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub; former manager Billy Martin; and executives Pat Gillick and Marvin Miller.

In September, Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig said that he believes Steinbrenner belongs in the Hall of Fame.

"I don't like to comment on these things, but do I think George should be in the Hall of Fame? Of course I do," Selig said. "The sport has never been as popular as it is today. ... I do think [we've] made a lot of adjustments in the last 18 to 20 years, and I give George a lot of credit for that."

"George put a face on this franchise that was all about winning, and very high standards to live by," added former manager Joe Torre. "George not only belongs, in my opinion, in Monument Park, but he certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame."

Steinbrenner helped the Yankees build a dynasty through heavy utilization of the free-agent market. Though once critical of free agency, Steinbrenner became one of its biggest proponents, signing pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter to a record-setting $3.35 million contract in 1974, and inking slugger Reggie Jackson to a five-year, $3.5 million deal after the '76 season.

In that time period, Steinbrenner became famous for his headline-grabbing statements and frequent changes of managers and general managers, all in relentless pursuit of a victorious Major League club. In his first 23 seasons, Steinbrenner switched managers 20 times -- including hiring and firing Martin on five occasions -- and went through 11 general managers in 30 years.

"Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing," Steinbrenner once said. "Breathing first, winning second."

Steinbrenner's reign also endured its share of controversy. He was twice suspended for acts considered detrimental to baseball, accepting bans in 1974 by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and in '90 by Commissioner Fay Vincent.

A brilliant capitalist behind closed doors, Steinbrenner changed the face of the Yankees again in 2002 with the formation of the YES Network. Regional television deals created new revenue streams for the organization, swelling the value of the team past $1 billion.

"He is the greatest owner in all of sports," shortstop Derek Jeter has said. "To me, he should be in the Hall of Fame. He has meant as much as anyone to the game of baseball."

The Expansion Era ballot was created by 11 veteran members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA).

The 16-member electorate charged with the review of the Expansion Era ballot features: Hall of Fame members Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith; Major League executives Bill Giles (Phillies), David Glass (Royals), Andy MacPhail (Orioles) and Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox); and veteran media members Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun), Tim Kurkjian (ESPN), Ross Newhan (retired, Los Angeles Times) and Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated).

Every candidate receiving votes on 75 percent of the 16 ballots cast will earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and will be honored during Hall of Fame Weekend from July 22-25, 2011, in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.