Looking back on George Steinbrenner’s legacy

2 May 1997: New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner watches pensively at the 123rd Kentucky Derky at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

You may have hated his brash attitude, the way he ran his team or the way he conducted his business. You may even feel that he ruined baseball.

But regardless of how you may have felt about him, there’s little denying that George Steinbrenner will forever be one of Major League Baseball’s icons.

Steinbrenner passed away this morning at the age of 80 after suffering a massive heart attack. He died just two days after longtime Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard passed away at the age of 99.

From 1973 to his death this morning, Steinbrenner oversaw 11 American League Pennants and seven World Series championships. His tenure as owner was the longest in club history.

But it wasn’t only what Steinbrenner was able to accomplish on the field that made his legacy so profound. He also helped revolutionize the business side of baseball by being the first owner to sell TV cable rights to the MSG Network. When things eventually went south with MSG, he created the YES Network, which is currently the Yankees’ very own TV station that generates millions in revenue.

During his tenure, he took the Yankees from a $10 million franchise to a $1.2 billion juggernaut. In 2005, the Yankees became the first professional sports franchise to be worth an estimated one billion dollars.

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