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Steinbrenner's pitch for Indians

George Steinbrenner grew up a fan of the Cleveland Indians and had a chance to buy the team before he made the deal for the Yankees. 

In 1970, Steinbrenner led a group of investors to buy the Indians from Vernon Stouffer, cofounder of Stouffer’s foods and Stouffer hotels.  Stouffer's son, Jim, had been a  friend of Steinbrenner since childhood. The deal was said to be $8.6 to $9 million in cash.  But the elder Stouffer had issues with Steinbrenner, according to Peter Golenbock's book ``George: The Poor Little Rich Boy Who Built the Yankee Empire.''

The book quoted Gabe Paul's take on the failed sale:   

“We were all in George’s office.  He called Vernon in Scottsdale, where he had a home.  There had been a leak in the press, which I think upset Vernon.  When George called, Vernon was very noncommittal.  He said, ‘Ah, I’m not going to take a deal like that.’  Vernon just didn’t want it.  It was a shock, because of the way it had been structured.  Jim [Vernon's son] had set the price.  After George hung up, there was no discussion.  The deal was off.  Vernon was so definite.  George was surprised.  You must remember there was a family relationship there, different from most deals.  It would have been a great deal for Vernon, a decent amount of cash.  I don’t know.  I think he was irked by the leak in the press.  I just think they talked to Vernon at the wrong time of day.”

 

Steinbrenner was later quoted as saying ``We would have done the same with the Indians (as the Yankees),'' had the deal gone through.

 

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