Hank Steinbrenner, co-chairman of the NY Yankees, leaves George Steinbrenner Stadium.
Debbie Egan-Chin | New York Daily News Archive | Getty Images
New York Yankees part-owner and co-chairperson Hank Steinbrenner died Tuesday at age 63, according to a team statement. He passed away at his home in Clearwater, Fla. from a long-term health issue, the team said.
“Hank was a genuine and gentle spirit who treasured the deep relationships he formed with those closest to him,” the Steinbrenner family said in the statement. “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 life.”
Steinbrenner was the eldest child of Yankees Principal Owner George M. Steinbrenner III, who saw the team win seven World Series titles from the start of his ownership in 1973 to his death in 2010, after which control of the franchise formally passed to Hank Steinbrenner and his brother Hal Steinbrenner.
While Hal Steinbrenner took the lead in overseeing the Yankees as managing general partner and co-chairperson, Hank Steinbrenner was involved in all areas of the club’s business and baseball operations, and participated directly in player negotiations, long-term player recruitment goals and overall club strategy, according to to the team.
Steinbrenner pinned young players like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez as the next face of a New York dynasty when they joined the Yankees during the 2016 season. He also sponsored the Yankees’ youth team known as “Hank’s Yanks.”
He was also known for writing columns for Sporting News that sometimes resulted in controversy. A 2008 column he wrote made waves after he cited Major League Baseball’s divisional format as being the reason the Yankees were eliminated from that year’s playoffs.
“The biggest problem is the divisional setup in Major League Baseball,” Steinbrenner wrote. “I didn’t like it in the 1970s, and I hate it now. Baseball went to a multi-division setup to create more races, rivalries and excitement. But it isn’t fair.”
Steinbrenner also had his hand in other sports, including horse and car racing. With his son, George Michael, he helped form Steinbrenner Racing, which partnered with Harding Racing in 2018 to compete in the IndyCar circuit. The group recently combined with Andretti Autosport, which is owned by retired racing star Michael Andretti.
At the time of his death, Steinbrenner served on the board of the YES Network and was involved in a number of charities. He is survived by four children and their families.