For young me, he was the easy villain -- he showed no loyalty, firing everyone in sight, throwing around money as freely as his temper. It was an easy target.
As I got older, I realized what Steinbrenner really was, the rare owner who wanted to win as much -- if not more -- than any fan. He was the new (and still rare) breed who owned a team like a fan. He did whatever was necessary to win, putting that above the dollar. In so, he made many dollars. He bought low and took the Yankees and game to new heights.
More than anything, Steinbrenner was the type of owner you wanted as a fan. Everything he did -- right and wrong -- was due to his desire to win. He was the anti-David Glass, caring more about winning than the bottom line. To Steinbrenner, winning helped the bottom line and in the end, he was proven correct. It was certainly an advantage he owned the Yankees instead of the Indians, there are inherent advantages in owning a team in New York, but it took a special person to figure that out (ask a Dolan how that works).
In the end, Steinbrenner is the father of modern baseball. He took full advantage of his bully pulpit and brought the bidding wars to baseball and won his fair share and more of those.
There are plenty of negatives to Steinbrenner, but today's not the time for that. Steinbrenner's legacy is winning. He died with the Yankees in first and the reigning World Champions, in the end, that's exactly how he'd want it.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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