Hank Steinbrenner, the co-owner and co-chairman of the New York Yankees, has died after a long battle with an illness, according to the New York Post. He was 63 years old. Steinbrenner had his 63rd birthday on April 2, and he was surrounded by his family when he died. The New York Post reported his death was not related to the novel coronavirus.
Steinbrenner was the oldest son of George Steinbrenner, who was the Yankees owner from 1973 until his death in 2010. Hank is known for being outspoken, but he stepped back from his public role as head the Yankees in the last few years, and his brother, Hal, has been the face of the franchise. Despite Hank working behind the scenes, he went to reporters in 2008 to express his anger for the phrase "Red Sox Nation."
"Red Sox Nation? What a bunch of bulls— that is...That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans...Go anywhere in America and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets," he said, per Fox News. "This is a Yankee country. We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order."
When the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs in 2008, he famously ripped the MLB for the divisional playoff system. In a column, which was posted in Sporting News, he wrote: "The biggest problem is the divisional setup in major league baseball. I didn't like it in the 1970s, and I hate it now. Baseball went to a multidivision setup to create more races, rivalries and excitement. But it isn't fair. You see it this season, with plenty of people in the media pointing out that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while we're not. This is by no means a knock on Torre - let me make that clear-but look at the division they're in. If L.A. were in the AL East, it wouldn't be in the playoff discussion. The AL East is never weak."
Hank and Hal took over as owners in 2010, but they were taking care of most day-to-day operations in 2007. Since the Steinbrenner family took over ownership of the Yankees, the team has won seven World Series titles and 11 pennants.