Born On The Fourth Of July
George Steinbrenner was born on July 4, 1930, in Rocky River, Ohio, to Rita and Henry Steinbrenner. He was the oldest of three children born to the couple. His father was the president of Kinsman Marine Transit Company, a shipping company based in Cleveland, Ohio. While a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Henry Steinbrenner competed on the track team, and became a national low-hurdle champion. Steinbrenner later said of his father, wrote Carol Slezak in the Chicago Sun-Times, "My father was an outstanding man. I never worked as hard as him and I never was as smart as him."
Steinbrenner grew up on a farm near the Ohio town of Bay Village, on the banks of Lake Erie. He attended high school at the Culver Military Academy in Indiana beginning in 1944. At Culver, he excelled in athletics, playing both on the football team and on the track team. After graduating from high school in 1948, Steinbrenner went on to Williams College in Massachusetts, where he earned a B.A. Following in his father's footsteps, at Williams Steinbrenner ran on the school's track team. He also worked on the school newspaper, and became president of the school's glee club (men's chorus).
After his graduation from college in 1952, Steinbrenner served in the United States Air Force. Stationed in Columbus, Ohio, he served as a general's aid. He also coached his base's basketball and baseball teams, and set an Armed Forces low-hurdle record. While in the Air Force, Steinbrenner met his future wife, Joan Zieg, a civilian living in Columbus. (They were married in 1956, and they eventually had four children—Hank, Hal, Jenny, and Jessica. By 2002, Steinbrenner had a total of 12 grandchildren.)