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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 6:56am

New York Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner Dies

The colorful owner, who returned the Major League Baseball team to prominence after purchasing the team in the 1970s, died after suffering a heart attack in Tampa. Steinbrenner was 80.George Steinbrenner, the contentious and colorful owner of baseball's New York Yankees, died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack, a source close to the family told the Associated Press.

Steinbrenner, 80, was a baseball revolutionary in many ways. With his brash style and his willingness to spend money to acquire the best talent in the game, Steinbrenner returned the New York Yankees to glory after acquiring the team in 1973. In recent years, he had turned over more control of the team to his sons Hal and Hank, but Steinbrenner remained perhaps the best-known team owner in American professional sports.

For more than 30 years, Steinbrenner lived up to his billing as "the Boss," a nickname he earned and clearly enjoyed as he ruled with an iron fist. The Yankees won six World Series titles during his reign.

He was known for feuds, clashing with Yankees great Yogi Berra and firing manager Billy Martin twice.

Steinbrenner was in fragile health for years, resulting in fewer public appearances and pronouncements. Yet dressed in his trademark navy blue blazer and white turtleneck, he was the model of success: The Yankees won seven World Series titles after his reign began in 1973

Till the end, he demanded championships. He barbed Joe Torre during the 2007 AL playoffs, then let the popular manager leave after another loss in the opening round. The team responded last year by winning another title.

His death, coming on the day Major League Baseball will play its annual All-Star Game, was the second in three days to rock the Yankees. Bob Sheppard, the team's revered public address announcer from 1951-07, died Sunday at 99.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. [Copyright 2010 National Public Radio]

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