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“I met George when I was 9 years old on a baseball field in a Cleveland public park. I prefer to remember him as a young man who encouraged girls and boys to play sports with enthusiasm, skill and courage,” said Donna E. Shalala, University of Miami President and former Clinton cabinet member, of the man who taught her how to slide.

Steinbrenner was such an outsized figure that even President Bill Clinton had some fun with his blustery persona when the Yankees visited the White House after their 1999 World Series championship.

“On that day at the White House, as we walked out on the South Lawn together and the band struck up ‘Hail to the Chief,’ Bill playfully reminded George, ‘Don’t get any ideas, it’s not for you,’” recalled Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and current secretary of state. “But George always had his own song. They say that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, and nobody knew that as well as George Steinbrenner.”

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AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley in Anaheim, Calif., and AP Sports Writers Tom Withers in Westlake, Ohio, Hank Kurz Jr. in Richmond, Va., and Ronald Blum and Rachel Cohen, in New York, contributed to this report.