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The Boss celebrates 80th birthday a few days early

TAMPA, Fla. - Surprise! Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was given an early birthday party Thursday.

Team employees, family members and friends spent time with Steinbrenner at the Yankees' spring training complex, three days before The Boss' 80th birthday on July 4.

Among those in attendance were Steinbrenner's sons, Hal and Hank; his daughters, Jennifer and Jessica; and longtime friend Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, the 1955 Heisman Trophy winner. "I want to thank everyone who has sent their good wishes. I am very fortunate to have the love and support of a great family and many, many friends," Steinbrenner said in a statement released by spokesman Howard J. Rubenstein. "The Yankees and their fans are a large part of what keeps me going. It means a lot." - AP

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