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George Steinbrenner

A Controversial Figure

Steinbrenner's political activities put him in the public eye in 1974, when he was formally charged with running a scheme to illegally funnel funds through his shipping company's employees to contribute to the 1972 presidential campaign of Richard M. Nixon. He admitted guilt in the ensuing court proceedings, but he refused to turn over any of his associates who were also involved in the deal. As he later told Kaufman, "There are lots of things you wish you could do over. But you have to live with it. You make your mistakes and there's no reason to get anyone else involved." Steinbrenner was pardoned by President Ronald Reagan in 1989.

The Yankees allowed Steinbrenner to keep his promise that he would make them a winning team by the fourth team of his ownership. In 1976, Steinbrenner's fourth year as owner, the Yankees went to their first World Series in more than ten years, and the following year his team won the World Series.

As owner of the Yankees, Steinbrenner became known for his fiery disposition, and for impulsively firing managers, most notably former player Billy Martin, who was dismissed by Steinbrenner a total of five times. He also once fired an assistant after she brought him the wrong sandwich for lunch.

However, he is also known for his loyalty, for instance, sticking by Darryl Strawberry even when the star Yankee repeatedly ran afoul of the law for drug possession and other charges. "Straw has a bad sickness," Steinbrenner explained to Kaufman. "He needs to know there's someone out there for him if he turns things around."

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Famous Sports StarsBaseballGeorge Steinbrenner Biography - Born On The Fourth Of July, Chronology, A Career In Athletics, Success In Business