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Yankees honor Steinbrenner with statue

PAUL LAMISON/STAFF
Workers finish erecting a statue of former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at Steinbrenner Field.
Workers finish erecting a statue of former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at Steinbrenner Field.
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Published: January 7, 2011

Updated: 01/07/2011 12:15 pm

TAMPA - Workers today installed a statue of longtime New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at the team's spring training home in Tampa.

The lifesize bronze statue of "The Boss" will greet visitors as they mount the steps at Steinbrenner Field. It is a duplicate of the statue erected at the new Yankee Stadium in The Bronx two years ago.

It weighs more 600 pounds and was made at United States Bronze in New York.

It's mounted on a nearly 3-ton, polished granite base.

There will be a public ceremony at the statue on Feb. 26, the opening home game of Yankees spring training.

"It's a way for the community to remember his legacy," said Howard Grosswirth, a team vice president.

In addition to his team's record, a plaque cites some of Steinbrenner's other accomplishments such as serving as vice president of the U.S. Olympic Committee and on the board of the NCAA Foundation Board of Trustees as well as his donations to charity.

The plaque in part says: "A great philanthropist whose charitable efforts were mostly performed without fanfare, he followed a personal motto of the greatest form of charity is anonymity."

The storied team's often-explosive owner died from a heart attack July 13 at his Tampa home. During his tenure the Yankees won seven World Series championships, 11 American League pennants and 16 American League East titles.

In Tampa, Steinbrenner was known more for his philanthropy than his mercurial personality.

His donations stretched from school athletic programs to the families of public servants killed on duty to the Florida Orchestra.

He moved his team's spring training facilities to Tampa from Fort Lauderdale, helping cement his legacy with the city.

He and his family appeared less than two months before his death at the dedication of George M. Steinbrenner High School in northwest Hillsborough County.

He received a standing ovation from students and school officials and was presented a copy of the school's first yearbook and a crystal heart inscribed with "heart of a warrior."

A resident of Tampa since 1975, in 2003, Steinbrenner and his family moved into a home a home in the Golf View Estates neighborhood near Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club.

At the time, he said he considered Tampa his home and didn't believe he would ever entertain thoughts of leaving.

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