New York Yankees owner Geroge Steinbrenner keeled over and died of a heart attack this morning to the amusement of baseball fans everywhere. He was 80 in terms of human-years and is best remembered for breaking the hearts of children across the country for decades by taking their favorite players and giving them ridiculous amounts of money to become his clean-cut Yankee wage slaves. Now poltical outlets are required to tell you what this man had to do with politics. Oh, he illegally funneled money to Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign. And sometimes he gave other politicians money, legally, to make them his Yankees.
Steinbrenner, who died today at age 80, pleaded guilty in 1974 to a felony conspiracy charge (and a misdemeanor accessory after the fact count) stemming from his illegal contributions to Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign. Before admitting his criminal behavior, Steinbrenner offered, through attorney Edward Bennett Williams, to provide Watergate Special Prosecution Force lawyers with testimony about other illegal donations to Nixon, as well as the sale of ambassadorships. Williams told investigators that Steinbrenner “had intended to obtain an ambassadorship for someone else” in return for funneling money to the Committee to Reelect the President, or CREEP.
Cool beans. You mean you can’t buy ambassadorships the same way you buy outfielders?
This story had a happy ending. Ronald Reagan pardoned him, of course.
According to this article, Steinbrenner hated being associated with Nixon and actually thought of himself as a “Ted Kennedy Democrat,” which is apparently a kind of Democrat somebody would want to be. And which apparently means giving lots of money to Democrats running for Congress, Republicans running for president, and any politician from New York or Florida.
In the past decade, Steinbrenner gave $6,300 to Sen. Charles Schumer and $9,600 to Rep. Charles Rangel. He also donated $2,300 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson was another of his favorites, to judge from his giving.
Alright. And so this is surprising from Schumer:
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“Like New York and like the Yankees, George Steinbrenner was a champion. He was someone about whom you can truly say that there will never be another one like him. When he bought the Yankees in 1973 the franchise was moribund and he quickly restored them to greatness. I, along with millions of Yankees fans, am thankful for the countless hours of joy we have experienced watching his team at the Stadium or following them on television and radio. He was a true New York icon. My condolences and best wishes go out to the Steinbrenners and the entire Yankee family.”