TORONTO -- George Steinbrenner loved the idea of being considered part of the Yankees' ballclub, regularly clapping his hand upon players' shoulders during clubhouse visits and occasionally sitting in on pre-series pitchers' meetings.

During his 37 years at the helm, the late Yankees owner grew into as large a legend as any on-field performer the franchise had seen, and Steinbrenner will be given his rightful place among the Yankees' unforgettable figures in Monument Park on Sept. 20.

A monument bearing Steinbrenner's plaque will be dedicated in a ceremony before that evening's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the team announced on Tuesday.

"We remain profoundly grateful and touched by the many expressions of sympathy and support from so many," the Steinbrenners said in a written statement. "We wish to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers, which we continue to hold close. We are especially appreciative that our family's privacy was respected as we grieved the loss of George.

"We know we will always share George's memory with Yankees fans everywhere, and a monument in his honor to be located in Monument Park will reflect the special connection, appreciation and responsibility that George felt for New York Yankees fans everywhere as they were always uppermost in his mind."

The principal owner of the Yankees since 1973, Steinbrenner returned the storied franchise to prominence both on and off the field and led the organization seven World Series titles. He passed away on July 14 at his home in Tampa, Fla., at age 80.

"He's going to go down as one of the best owners in all of sports, let alone just baseball or in Yankees history," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter. "It's well deserved.

"I think Yankees fans are well aware of what he's done for this organization and what he's brought them. Now, there's going to be a permanent remembrance for people years from now."

The Yankees are also planning a special tribute to Steinbrenner's life and legacy in Tampa before the opening game of Spring Training in March 2011.

-- Bryan Hoch