George Steinbrenner: The Greatest Owner in the History of Sports Essay

Submitted By keitha96
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George Steinbrenner
Keith Anderson, Crystal Price, Nikolas Rule
William Penn University
MBL 520: Ethical & Moral Leadership
Dr. James Schiro
April 17, 2015

George Steinbrenner George Steinbrenner is most famously known as one of the most successful sport owners in American sports history. On July 4th, 1930 Steinbrenner was born in Rocky River, Ohio (Nelson, 2013). His two parents, Henry George Steinbrenner II and Rita raised him in an upper middle class lifestyle in Cleveland. He dedicates most of his success to both of them. At a young age, George had to learn that his father refused to allow him to accept failure, and he was pushed to succeed in all aspects of life. George attended Culver Military Academy in Indiana, graduating in 1948. He was later awarded a Bachelor’s degree from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1952, where he was an average student, who was a hurdler like his father on the track-and-field team, halfback on the football team, and sports editor of the student newspaper (Nelson, 2013). From this, it is quickly seen that George possessed a strong work ethic and was willing to go the extra mile to succeed. Although George was an average student he was quite active when it came to his extra-curricular life.
Following graduation, George Steinbrenner was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, heading the sports program at Lockbourne Air Base in Columbus, Ohio, before his honorable discharge in 1954. While in the Air Force, George would go on to run a successful coffee stand business as a sideline that quickly grew to six pickup trucks (Nelson, 2013). It was soon clear that no matter what George was doing with his life there were two things he could never give up, being a businessman and surrounding himself with sports. After leaving the Air Force, Steinbrenner went back to school to obtain his master’s degree at Ohio State University (Goldstein, 2014). He tried pursing a football-coaching career, but that did not last long. He went back to Cleveland to work in the family shipping business, but quickly realized he was not happy. He wanted to find a job where sports was involved, so in 1960, he bought the Cleveland Pipers of National Industrial Basketball League for $125,000, but just two years later the program fell apart (Nelson, 2013). He did not allow this experience to tear him apart. He remained optimistic and continued to work hard with the family business, and on the side had purchased stock in American Ship Building Company, and eventually became the president because of his stellar leadership skills. But it was on January 3rd, 1973, that George Steinbrenner made the biggest decision of his life. He chose to buy a failing New York Yankee ball club from CBS for ten million dollars (Goldstein, 2010). Gabe Paul, a veteran baseball executive who had helped arrange Steinbrenner’s purchase of the Yankees, and Lee McPhail, the holdover general manager from the CBS years were expected to make the personnel decisions as Steinbrenner learned the ropes ad rigors of owning a professional baseball team. When he arrived in New York on Jan. 3, 1973, he said he would not be active in the day-to-day operations of the club at all. Having made his money as head of the American Shipbuilding Company, based in Cleveland, he said that he would stick to building ships (Goldstein, 2010). But it was soon apparent that George wouldn’t stick to his word nor would he sit idly and watch others make decisions. George Steinbrenner soon became as well known for his megalomaniacal personality as he would for producing championship baseball teams (Nelson, 2013). Many have identified traits of both obsessive compulsive and narcissistic personality disorders with many of the outrageous actions that the Yankee owner displayed through the years. He became well known as tough boss to satisfy, which is what led to the success of the Yankees for the almost 40 years that Steinbrenner was owner