Yankee Situation Still Up in the Air


The New York Yankees' limited partners, expected to vote Wednesday on a general partner to succeed George Steinbrenner, might have several nominees, or they might have none.

Hank Steinbrenner apparently has let it be known that he is not interested in the position his father must vacate by next Monday in accordance with sanctions imposed by Commissioner Fay Vincent.

Although several limited partners say George Steinbrenner has not withdrawn Hank's name from nomination, there has been talk in the organization that the principal owner might suggest an entry of Marvin Goldklang and Barry Halper for the position if Hank remains adamant about not taking it. Another limited partner, Charlotte Witkind, contacted the commissioner's office Monday and asked if a general partner could be put in place temporarily to give the group more time to settle on someone to head the franchise permanently.

"I really think Hank is out," Witkind said from Columbus, Ohio. "He wants to be out. I don't think George will twist his arm. It doesn't appear Hank is going to do this."

Witkind, whose family owns Federated Stores Inc., the parent company of Bloomingdale's, is part of a segment of the limited partnership concerned about the shortness of time to name George Steinbrenner's successor. He must resign in the next seven days. With baseball's ownership committee not expected to deal with the Yankees' situation before a meeting Sept. 12-13 in Pittsburgh, the Yankees could essentially be rudderless nearly a month.

Witkind's query, which was not a formal request, was made to American League President Bobby Brown, who turned the matter over to Deputy Commissioner Steve Greenberg. Vincent, en route to Atlanta, had no comment.

"We have been entertaining thoughts about an interim situation for after Aug. 20," Greenberg said. "Let's see what happens at their meeting before we take the next step."

The limited partnership meeting was originally scheduled last week but was postponed because of an illness in one of the families. It was rescheduled for Wednesday in Cleveland. Over the last week, reports surfaced concerning Hank Steinbrenner's objections to the post, among them a reluctance to move to New York from Ocala, Fla., where he runs the family's thoroughbred-breeding farm.

"I talked to George last Friday, and he said Hank is uncomfortable with living under a microscope," a limited partner who requested anonymity said. "George is also afraid of resistance to his son by some of the owners."

Neither Steinbrenner has made himself available for comment.

"Hank is still the nominee as far as I know," Goldklang said. "George may be thinking over some issues as they relate to Hank, but I haven't heard that he's changed his thinking."

Said Halper: "I know there has been speculation, but no one has told me Hank won't do it."

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