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Owner of the New York Yankees from 1972 until his death, George Steinbrenner was one of the most
notorious team owners in baseball history.
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The Steinbrenner family lived a comfortable, upper-middle class lifestyle in Cleveland, thanks to Henry's job as the head of Kinsman Marine Transit Company, which managed shipping freighters in the Midwest. Yet George never coasted on his family's money. Instead of allowance, George's father paid him in chickens. At the age of 9, George started the George Company, and sold eggs door to door. Within five years, the successful business became the S & J Company, which he passed on to his sisters Susan and Judy when he headed to Culver Military Academy in 1944.
After graduating from Culver, Steinbrenner attended Williams College in Massachusetts. While he didn't quite excel academically, Steinbrenner followed in his father's footsteps as a track and field star. He also served as the sports editor of the paper, played in the band, and ran the glee club. He earned his bachelor's degree in English in 1952, and headed to the military shortly after.
Steinbrenner entered the United States Air Force, where he landed an assignment in his home state of Ohio, at Lockbourne Air Force Base. As a second lieutenant, he headed the sports program at Lockbourne and set up a coffee stand business that grew to six pick-up trucks.
After his 1954 discharge, Steinbrenner spent a year at Ohio State University studying for a master's degree in physical education. While there, he began a brief career as an assistant football coach, with stints at Northwestern and Purdue universities. But after receiving pressure from his disappointed father, Steinbrenner returned to Cleveland to work in the family shipping business.
Still passionate about sports, Steinbrenner rebelled against his father in 1960, when he bought the minor league basketball team, the Cleveland Pipers, for $125,000. The investment proved to be a poor one; in less than two years, the Pipers collapsed, losing Steinbrenner more than $25 million.
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