Even the most casual baseball fan knows the name ‘Steinbrenner’, most often associated with the legendary George Steinbrenner. Mr Steinbrenner, often referred to simply as “The Boss”, owned the New York Yankees from 1973 until his passing in 2010. During that time, Mr Steinbrenner took an $8.8 Million Dollar investment and turned it into a franchise that is now worth roughly $4 Billion.
No one could debate two things: The Boss’ love for his Yankees and The United States of America. In a business where most owners use their franchise to get rich, George was already rich, making his fortune in the shipping industry. Few owners before him and even fewer after him reinvested more of their own money into their teams than did The Boss. Appropriately born on July 4th, Mr Steinbrenner was flagrantly patriotic and supportive of America’s military and civil servants. He was a quiet philanthropist. Since his passing, we are learning more and more about just how much Mr Steinbrenner was involved in charity. For example, in 1982, The Boss founded the Silver Shield Foundation, a non-profit charity set up to serve the families of public servants killed in the line of duty.
The ties between the New York Yankees franchise and law enforcement date back well before Mr Steinbrenner’s days. In fact, the very logo on the Yankee’s hat was originally an NYPD Valor Award. Designed by Tiffany & Company, the silver interlocking ‘NY’ affixed to a shield-shaped medal depicting a woman placing a wreath on a policeman’s head, was first presented to NYPD Police Officer John McDowell, who was shot in the line of duty in 1877 as he patrolled “Hell’s Kitchen”.
While the ‘NY’ logo began being used by then ‘Highlanders’ in 1909, it was not made the official logo until 1913, when the ‘Yankees’ name became more than just a nickname.
So what does this all have to do with Brothers Before Others? Glad you asked.
As many know, the cornerstone of BBO is our National Flower Fund. Since our founding in 2014, BBO has sent a floral arrangement to every line of duty death, regardless of where they occur in the country. This has been a monumental task, costing the members, all of whom are active/retired law enforcement officers, an average of $50,000 a year.
While BBO has evolved into so much more, under the steady watch of BBO Board Member and Cedar Grove PD (NJ) Lieutenant Ed Conlon, our National Flower Fund has not missed a service, reaching as far as Hawaii.
Well, it seems the New York Yankees franchise has followed our lead. While they have been sending flowers for decades to funerals for officers killed in the line of duty in the New York area, approximately 3 years ago, the Yanks and the Steinbrenner family began quietly sending some out nationally beginning in late 2015, in response to the growing protests directed at the American police officer.
BBO Founder/President Michael Burke, who is also a retired NYPD Police Officer, has always stressed the importance of something seemingly so simple as a floral arrangement. “We take for granted that everyone has a huge family or a support structure in place prepared enough to handle the loss of a loved one. For more reasons than the obvious, losing a loved one in the line of duty is a scary and lonely time. BBO has intended from the beginning to ensure that every parent, sibling, relative or spouse of an officer killed in the line of duty knows that, even when they think no one is thinking about them or no one cares, the over 4000 members of BBO do; and we will never forget.”
You are in elite air when there are only two organizations doing what you do on any kind of consistent basis, and the other is the New York Yankees.
So, on behalf of Michael Burke and the over 4000 members of Brothers Before Others, from all corners of the United States, across the pond in England, and around the globe, we would like to thank the Steinbrenner family and the New York Yankees for their support of law enforcement. At a time where outward expressions of support are hard to come by, their continued patriotism and concern for the American police officer does not go unnoticed. The finest supporting “The Finest”.