Hal touched by Selig's toast for Boss
Commissioner praised late Yankees owner Wednesday night
MINNEAPOLIS -- Commissioner Bud Selig said a few words at dinner on Wednesday night for George Steinbrenner, the late Yankees owner. And his son, Hal, was very moved by the gesture.Steinbrenner passed away on July 13, and the family had been quiet about the abrupt death until Thursday.
"It was very moving," the younger of the two surviving Steinbrenner sons told MLB.com after the third quarterly owners meetings of the year. "Bud said, 'We all know he did a lot for the game. He passed away between these last two meetings. Like all of us, there were good times and bad times. But he was good for the game and a good friend.'"As the elder Steinbrenner faded from the day-to-day operations of the team, Hal replaced his father nearly two years ago as managing general partner, overseeing the opening of the new Yankee Stadium last year and the team's 27th World Series championship. Hal said that a memorial is planned for his dad during the Sept. 20-23 four-game series against the Rays at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees already honored Steinbrenner and public address announcer Bob Sheppard at Yankee Stadium before a game against the Rays on July 16. Sheppard died on July 11. The family was not in attendance that day because the elder Steinbrenner's funeral was in Tampa on July 17. Selig said he is planning on attending the September memorial. "We're still trying to pin it down, but I think it's going to be before the game on Sept. 20," Hal said. At each meeting, the owners have a dinner the night before the joint session. On Wednesday night, it was in a restaurant at newly opened Target Field. Selig said he spoke a few words about Carl Pohlad, the long-time owner of the Twins, who died at 93 on Jan. 5, 2009, and Steinbrenner, who was 80 when he passed away. Steinbrenner was the longest-tenured Major League Baseball owner when he died, having purchased the Yankees in 1973. "Since the last meeting, George had obviously passed away," Selig said, recounting his words. "I talked about how important a part he'd been of Major League Baseball and his contributions, the sadness that I felt for him and the family. It was a heart-felt toast to George." Steinbrenner hadn't been a fixture at these meetings for years. This time, Hal, club president Randy Levine and Lonn Trost, their chief operating officer, represented the Yankees. It definitely has been a melancholy time for the Steinbrenner family since his father's death, Hal said. Steinbrenner had been in declining health for several years. "It's always difficult when you lose a father," Hal said. "Even if it's something you know is going to happen, you're never fully prepared. The outpouring of sympathy has been outstanding. The media did a great job and the family has been really pleased with what has been said."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.