New York Sen. Charles Schumer remembered the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner Tuesday, saying he was a true icon in the Big Apple.
Steinbrenner passed away at the age of 80 on Tuesday after suffering a massive heart attack. He purchased the Yankees in 1973 and turned the struggling but historically successful team into a modern-day dynasty.
“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,” Schumer said. “He was a true New York icon. My condolences and best wishes go out to the Steinbrenners and the entire Yankee family.”
The boisterous Steinbrenner retired from the day-to-day operations of the team in 2006. He was known for fostering the Yankees’s on-field success — they won seven World Series during his ownership — as well as attracting controversy.
He was banned from baseball in 1990 for paying a gambler to dig up dirt on Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield in order to sully his reputation, but was reinstated in 1993. Steinbrenner also made illegal political contributions to President Richard Nixon in the 1970s, but was pardoned by President Ronald Reagan in 1989.
Steinbrenner was also known for pioneering many modern sports business practices, such as selling his team’s cable television rights, which helped to dramatically increase the value of his team.
Schumer remembered Steinbrenner for returning the Yankees to greatness.
“When he bought the Yankees in 1973 the franchise was moribund and he quickly restored them to greatness,” he said. “I, along with millions of Yankees fans, am thankful for the countless hours of joy we have experienced watching his team at the Stadium or following them on television and radio.”