Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Hal Steinbrenner still in charge
By Andrew Marchand
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- With the passing of George Steinbrenner, his son Hal will remain in charge of the New York Yankees.
As his health declined in recent years, George Steinbrenner ceded control and Hal Steinbrenner took authority of the Yankees, keeping his father's mantra of winning as the club's top priority, but doing it with a much different style.
Hal Steinbrenner is expected to keep the Yankees' payroll at the top of Major League Baseball, but he may try to be a little more prudent than his father. Hal also isn't ever going to have the bombast that made his father famous, as he rarely talks with the press.
Hal Steinbrenner, along with his brother Hank, first took control of the Yankees in the winter of 2007. Hank Steinbrenner, who had more to do with the day-to-day operations initially, quickly earned the nickname "Baby Boss" because of his outspokeness during the Joe Torre contract negotiations and Alex Rodriguez's steroid admission. Hal Steinbrenner mostly kept silent.
In November 2008, MLB approved Hal Steinbrenner as the controlling interest of the Yankees. George Steinbrenner remained chairman of the team, with his sons as co-chairs. Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees explained at the time, was named the controller because he would be in charge of the overall business and financial operations, while Hank Steinbrenner was to oversee the baseball operations.
Hank Steinbrenner has now receded into the background with Hal Steinbrenner being much more involved in day-to-day operations of the team. Hal Steinbrenner works more closely with Yankees team president Randy Levine on the Yankees' financial responsibilities. Hal Steinbrenner effectively allows general manager Brian Cashman to run the baseball operations. Cashman still needs to gain approval on financial layouts, but he isn't being told whom to sign, as was the case when George Steinbrenner was in charge.
Hal Steinbrenner, 40, rose to power reluctantly. As recently as five years ago, it looked as if George Steinbrenner's then son-in-law Steve Swindal would be next in line to run the franchise. After Swindal and Steinbrenner's daughter, Jennifer, divorced, Swindal left the organization.
Prior to Swindal leaving, the Steinbrenner sons did not show a strong desire to be in charge, raising the specter of the team eventually being sold.
Their father, before starting the YES Network, once had serious discussions about selling the team to Cablevision. The deal, though, never happened, leaving Hal Steinbrenner in charge of his father's legacy.
Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com.