Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Boss

As everyone by now knows, George Steinbrenner died this morning at the age of 80. I learned the news as I was preparing to go into a meeting and overheard two co-workers talking.

I did not grow up a Yankees fan, but I did grow up in the Tampa Bay area, and for years this is where Steinbrenner has lived and based much of his business empire. And no matter what baseball fans think about his large payroll, or media softies think about the brusque image he often displayed in public, I know there was another side to the man everyone still calls The Boss.

Around these parts, stories of his generosity are as common as fireflies on a summer evening in the South. He was always willing to lend a hand to those in need, and he often lended it in private, away from the spotlight that public figures usually like to accompany them when they engage in charity.

With Steinbrenner's passing, part of me wants to salute his ambitious pursuit of victory, which was unfairly and unintelligently criticized while he lived. But another part of me simply wants to salute his charity and let that speak for itself. As you can probably tell from what I have already written, the latter part of me prevailed. Below, largely from a compilation published on tbo.com, is a list of just some of the things George Steinbrenner has done:

1981 - Founder and prime contributor to the Gold Shield Foundation, which provides full college scholarships to the children of police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty.

1984 - Sponsored a Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay Lou Piniella testimonial dinner to raise $42,000 for a new administration building.

1988 - Anonymously paid for the Greater Tampa Urban League banquet costs.

1988 - Paid for the funeral and burial expenses of 22-year-old Denny Redden, a former high school football star.

1989 - Made a donation of $250,000 to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.

1997 - Covered travel expenses when Lake Airlines went bankrupt and left a British youth soccer team stranded in Tampa.

1997 through the present - Has sponsored a Yankee luncheon every spring to benefit the Boys and Girls Club.

Since 1996 has invited 2 to 3 high school bands to perform at Spring Training games donating game tickets, transportation, and $1,000 to each band.

1989 - Reached out to Johnny Russo, a 2 year-old cancer victim, by giving him Yankees equipment and autographs, and contributed to his hospital expenses.

Since 1989 has underwritten the Florida Orchestra Children's Christmas Concerts each year.

1990 - Founder and benefactor of the Hillsborough County Florida Coaches Foundation which honors public and private high school coaches and their wives.

Assisted in providing lighting systems for the University of Florida, Florida State University, University of South Florida, and several little league baseball fields.

Paid for college educational expenses for 50 needy and deserving students.

1990 - Underwrote several pop concerts featuring the Tampa Symphony Orchestra and Skitch Henderson.

1991 - Hosted and paid for a dinner for the Salesian Sisters in Tampa to help build an infirmary.

1991 - Master of Ceremonies at the "Red, White, and Blue" celebration at Tampa Stadium.

1991 - After discovering a bus full of Boys and Girls Club kids broken down en route to Busch Gardens, he purchased their lunch and arranged transportation for the remainder of their trip.

1991 - Made an anonymous donation of $35,000 to Hillsborough County Public Schools to benefit underprivileged high school athletes.

1991 - Honored with the 1992 Golden Baton Award by the Florida Orchestra Guild of St. Petersburg.

1991 - Pledged $500,000 to help build a separate pediatric emergency center at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. (Coincidentally, St. Joseph's is the same hospital where he passed away this morning.)

1992 - Inducted into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame.

1992 - Was the prime mover in having Tampa serve as the processing center and debarkation point for 1,600 U.S. Olympic participants.

1992 - Provided funds for Ron Karnaugh, an Olympic athlete, to enter medical school after his father died of a heart attack.

1992 - Volunteered to drive boiled water to a storm ravaged area after Hurricane Andrew hit Miami.

1992 - After learning of the cancellation of the junior high school championship games in Hillsborough County due to budget problems, he underwrote the expenses for the games.

From 1993 through 2007 he donated a van to the Children's Home of Tampa each year.

1993 - Received Tampa Citizen of the Year award for community service.

1993 - Mr. and Mrs. Steinbrenner received an "Outstanding American Award" from the Boys and Girls Club of America.

1994 - Donated $50,000 to Illinois farmers hurt by flooding.

From 1994 through 1996 he underwrote the cost of high school and youth football games at Tampa Stadium.

1994 - Received the "Community Leader Award" from the Federal Law Enforcement Association.

1994 - Received the "Distinguished Service Award" from the Tampa Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.

1994 - Selected by Florida State Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford to head the Florida State Fair Authority.

1995 - Received Liberty Bell Award (Law Day USA) Hillsborough County Bar

1996 - Received "Governor's Outstanding Citizen Award" from Kiwanis International.

1997 - Financed bringing the Florida High School State Baseball Championship Tournament to Tampa.

1997 - King of Gasparilla (an annual festival in Tampa that dates back to 1904 and somehwat resembles Mardi Gras)

1997 - Donation to sixty-nine 4H entrants

1997 - Donation to proposed renovation of historic Centro Espanol in West Tampa.

1997 - Favorite Sons/Daughters Award, Hillsborough County Convention

1997 - Ambassador Award by the Tampa Hillsborough convention and visitors Association.

1997 - State of Indiana "Pathfinder Award" recognizing his extraordinary service to youth

1997 - Received "Voice of Children Award" presented by the Children's Home Society of Florida.

1998 - Recognition for excellent work for the U.S. Olympics while serving as Vice President of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

1998 - Donated $10,000 to Inner City Boys Choir after their musical instruments were stolen.

1998 - Made $200,000 pledge to reestablish an extramural athletic program in Hillsborough County schools for the county's 34 middle schools, serving 6,500 sixth through eighth graders.

1998 - Summary of recent assistance furnished by Mr. Steinbrenner to the community.

1999 - Received "Citizen of the Year Award," Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner.

2000 - Received "Joseph Moore Award" from Egypt Temple Shrine in Tampa for "Recognition of Outstanding Community Service".

2001 - Article in Tampa Tribune dated May 13, 2001, extolling George Steinbrenner's civic responsibility.

Provided facility funding and staff to host the state baseball tournament at Legends Field (now George M. Steinbrenner Field) for 8 years.

Gave $15,000 to Hillsborough County Public Schools Athletics Department to purchase additional equipment and supplies.

Gave $10,000 to help fund the first rubberized track at Gaither High School.

Gave $2,500 to help host state soccer.

Gave $2,000 to help host state cross country.

Major sponsor for the Tampa Chapter of the National Football Foundation. The NFF honors our coaches, athletes, and scholar-athletes yearly.

Gave the funds necessary for the Gaither High School band to make up the difference between what the boosters had raised and the cost for travel and lodging for the 2004 Presidential Inaugural Parade.

Gave $10,000 to replace band instruments stolen from Hillsborough High School.

Sponsored the annual coaches dinner to honor coaches in all high school sports in Hillsborough County.

Donated a display case for the administrative office of Steinbrenner High School to display Yankees and Steinbrenner memorabilia, which his organization rotates on a regular basis.

Enough said. Rest in peace.

Update: And after publishing this post, I came across this anecdotal piece that illustrates the point I was trying to make.


Run DMT said...

I have always know he loved Tampa, but I never realized how much. Thank you for a really well illustrated tribute to The Boss.

nanny said...

Hi John, thanks for stopping by....tell your wife to hang in there on dragon tattoo...it really does get very good and easier to read as it goes on! and Yes I loved the help! will check on afghan! thanks