Tuesday, July 13, 2010
"The Boss" suffered a massive heart attack and died Tuesday morning
By RONALD BLUM
Steinbrenner's family mourned the loss of a man they called "a visionary and a giant in the world of sports," who just celebrated his 80th birthday on July 4.
"He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again," the family said in a statement released by spokesman Howard Rubenstein. "He was an incredible and charitable man. First and foremost he was devoted to his entire familygrandchildren."
Steinbrenner's micromanaging on the field and penchant for pursuing high-priced free agents -- and later taking a key role in escalating their salaries -- earned him a reputation as one of the most controversial figures in sports and made him beloved yet polarizing New York City legend.
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For more than 30 years, Steinbrenner lived up to his billing as "the Boss," a nickname he earned and clearly enjoyed as he ruled with an iron fist. During Steinbrenner's 37-year ownership of the club, the longest tenure in Bronx Bombers' history, the Yankees won 7 World Series titles and 11 penants.
He was known for feuds, clashing with Yankees great Yogi Berra, and firing manager Billy Martin twice. But as his health declined, Steinbrenner let sons Hal and Hank run more of the family business.
Steinbrenner was in fragile health for years, resulting in fewer public appearances and pronouncements. Yet dressed in his trademark navy blue blazer and white turtleneck, he was the model of success: The Yankees won seven World Series titles after his reign began in 1973.
Steinbrenner’s tenure of more than 37 years exceeded that of any other New York Yankees owner by 13 years (Colonel Jacob Ruppert purchased the Yankees with Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston in January 1915, bought out Huston in 1922, and maintained sole ownership in the club until his death in January 1939—a total of 24 years). Since Steinbrenner became principal owner, the other 29 Major League clubs had more than 100 owners or ownership groups while the Yankees had just one.
He appeared at the new Yankee Stadium just four times: for the opener in April 2009, for the first two games of last year's World Series and for this year's homer opener, when captain Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi went to his suite and personally delivered his seventh World Series ring.
"He was very emotional," said Hal Steinbrenner, his father's successor as managing general partner.
Until the end, he demanded championships. He criticized Joe Torre during the 2007 playoffs, then let the popular manager leave after another loss in the opening round. The team responded last year by winning another title.
In addition to the team’s on-field success, the Yankees have consistently shattered franchise and league attendance records at home and on the road. In 2009, they drew 3,719,358 fans in their first season of play in Yankee Stadium, topping the American League in attendance for the seventh straight season (2003-09). Currently, the Yankees remain the only franchise in baseball history to draw more than 4 million fans at home in four consecutive seasons (2005-08).
Steinbrenner's death was the second in three days to rock the Yankees. Bob Sheppard, the team's revered public address announcer from 1951-07, died on Sunday at 99.
The Ohio-born executive leaves behind his wife of 54 years, Elizabeth Joan Zieg, and their four children -- Hank, Hal, Jessica and Jennifer.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York
This video depicts a Holocaust survivor—flanked by a handful of younger family members—dancing at several concentration camps, with a cover of "I Will Survive" in the background. Buzzfeed calls it "the most heart-warming Holocaust memorial ever displayed."
Chevrolet may just have unleashed a masterstroke in product-marketing by allowing customers who order their Corvette (Z06 and ZR1) to have the option of a one-day experience where they will help a master technician build their engine from the block up. Customers can shell out an additional $5,800 to hand-assemble at GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan. In case you’re left wondering – the customer cannot add additional parts to up the horsepower, and the engine will still be covered by warranty.
Every customer who orders a ZR1 will also receive complimentary two-day course at either of two official Corvette ZR1 Driving Schools: Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nev., or the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, Ariz. The course will teach new owners how to fully enjoy the performance of the ZR1 (read: Heel/toe shifting, threshold braking, and cornering) in a safe, closed-course environment.
Also available is a Museum Delivery program that will allow customers to take delivery of their Corvette at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. They will receive a private tour of the GM Bowling Green Assembly Plant, home of the Corvette, and the National Corvette Museum, along with a personalized demonstration of the Corvette’s features. The Museum Delivery option is $490.
The Corvette Buyers Tour is another unique feature that allows for customers to watch their Corvette follow the build process from the start of body assembly to the end of the line at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant. This tour includes the chance to witness areas of the plant not included on the general Plant tour. The customers will also have the opportunity to buy a photo album that entails the entire build process of their car. The leather-bound album includes more than 20 pages of text and photos devoted to capturing the entire Corvette build process, along with a letter of authenticity from the National Corvette Museum.
CHICAGO — Hugh Hefner, Playboy Enterprises Inc.'s iconic founder, is offering to buy the shares of the media empire that he doesn't already own and take the company private in a deal that values the organization at $185 million.
Playboy announced the bid Monday, drawing a competing offer just a few hours later from the corporate parent of rival Penthouse magazine, FriendFinder Networks. FriendFinder CEO Marc Bell said Monday that his company will make a formal bid soon.
Based on the number of shares outstanding on April 30, Hefner's proposal offers $122.5 million, or $5.50 for each share the magnate doesn't already own. That's a nearly 40 percent premium above Friday's closing stock price of $3.94. Playboy's shares climbed $1.63, or 41 percent, to $5.57 in midday trading Monday.
Hefner, 84, the company's chief creative officer who's known for his silky pajamas and young, curvaceous girlfriends, plans to team up with private equity firm Rizvi Traverse Management LLC for the deal.
Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 and turned the publication and its scantily clad models into a cultural mainstay. But in recent years, Playboy has faltered as advertising revenue dwindled and competition grew.
In late 2008, Hefner's daughter Christie resigned as chairman and CEO. Scott Flanders replaced her last summer.
Since then, speculation has mounted that Playboy would seek a suitor, for a merger or acquisition.
But that's something Hefner appears to oppose.
In his letter to Playboy's board of directors, Hefner said he has no plans to sell his shares — or the company. He rebuffed any suggestion that there should be a merger between Playboy and other potential bidders.
Playboy, which is headquartered in Chicago, described Hefner's offer letter as a proposal and said there was no guarantee it would get any formal bid from Hefner. But if it does, the board of directors will form a special committee to consider the bid.
At the end of April Playboy had 33.6 million shares of stock, of which Hefner owns more than 4 million shares in two stock classes.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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