No Hall for Steinbrenner in first shot on ballot

No Hall for Steinbrenner in first shot on ballot

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- George M. Steinbrenner did not make it into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on his first try, appearing on less than half of the ballots cast by the Veterans Committee.

The case to enshrine Steinbrenner, the longtime Yankees principal owner who passed away in July at age 80, was reviewed and voted upon by the 16-member Expansion Era Committee.

The results of that vote were announced on Monday at the Winter Meetings, with longtime baseball executive Pat Gillick the lone candidate to garner the necessary 75 percent of votes cast.

Steinbrenner will next be considered in 2013 for the '14 induction year. In addition to Steinbrenner, Yankees figures Ron Guidry, Tommy John and Billy Martin also received less than eight votes this time.

"Some people thought it was too early [for Steinbrenner to be elected]," said Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, who served on the committee. "I believe he certainly will be [elected in the future]."

Others to be considered by the Expansion Era Committee included: former players Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub, plus executive Marvin Miller, who missed by one vote.

"He's going to the Hall of Fame," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said of Steinbrenner. "He's already in the Hall, as far as I'm concerned. He's a Hall of Famer, they just haven't made it official yet. I think everybody knows the impact he's had on this game."

Through his purchase of a downtrodden Yankees franchise in 1973, Steinbrenner became one of the game's best-known personalities -- a demanding type who earned the long-standing nickname "The Boss."

Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees from the CBS Broadcasting Company for $8.7 million and reinjected capital and hope into the dormant franchise, overseeing 11 American League pennants and seven World Series championships during his 37-year tenure.

In September, Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig said that he believes Steinbrenner belongs in the Hall of Fame.

"Do I think George should be in the Hall of Fame? Of course I do," Selig said. "The sport has never been as popular as it is today. ... I do think [we've] made a lot of adjustments in the last 18 to 20 years, and I give George a lot of credit for that."

Steinbrenner helped the Yankees build a dynasty through heavy utilization of the free-agent market. Though once critical of free agency, Steinbrenner became one of its biggest proponents, signing pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter to a record-setting $3.35 million contract in 1974, and inking slugger Reggie Jackson to a five-year, $3.5 million deal after the '76 season.

In that time period, Steinbrenner became famous for his headline-grabbing statements and frequent changes of managers and general managers, all in relentless pursuit of a victorious Major League club. In his first 23 seasons, Steinbrenner switched managers 20 times -- including hiring and firing Martin on five occasions -- and went through 11 general managers in 30 years.

"Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing," Steinbrenner once said. "Breathing first, winning second."

Steinbrenner's reign also endured its share of controversy. He was twice suspended for acts considered detrimental to baseball, accepting bans in 1974 by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and in '90 by Commissioner Fay Vincent.

A brilliant capitalist behind closed doors, Steinbrenner changed the face of the Yankees again in 2002 with the formation of the YES Network. Regional television deals created new revenue streams for the organization, swelling the value of the team past $1 billion.

"He is the greatest owner in all of sports," shortstop Derek Jeter has said. "To me, he should be in the Hall of Fame. He has meant as much as anyone to the game of baseball."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.