CLEVELAND - About a half mile from where the New York Yankees played the Cleveland Indians for the Cleveland team's baseball home opener, a name almost synonymous with the New Yorkers' baseball club has been etched on the walls of a Cleveland monument for more than 100 years.
George Steinbrenner's name is carved in the wall of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on Cleveland's Public Square. Steinbrenner, great great grandfather of New York Yankee owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, was a Clevelander who enlisted with the 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served in the Civil War.
"The lesson of service that George brought in the Civil War that has allowed the family to continue the community service not only in Cleveland, but also in New York," said Tim Daley, executive director of the monument. Dedicated in 1894, the monument in the center of Cleveland was a tribute to the residents of Cuyahoga County who were in the Union military forces during the civil war in the first half of the 1860s.
Steinbrenner was 23 went he went off to war in 1861 to fight Confederate rebel forces. When he returned to Cleveland, he began to build a financial empire, which was eventually inherited by George Steinbrenner III, who bought the New York Yankees in 1970. In 2010, Steinbrenner III died and the team was inherited by his sons.
So the New York Yankees owe a great deal of gratitude to a Clevelander. It was not just their father, George III who bought the Yankees, but a debt of gratitude is also due to his great grandfather. It was the first George Steinbrenner who went off to the Civil War from his hometown of Cleveland and returned to start putting together a financial empire.
When he died, his money, of course, stayed behind to be handed down to the next generation ... and the next ... and the next. Well, you get the idea. But it was Cleveland which first put the Steinbrenners on the financial map.