NEW YORK (AP) – With his 75th birthday approaching next week, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner made it official Tuesday: Son-in-law Steve Swindal will follow him as head of baseball’s most storied team.

Steinbrenner did not say when Swindal would take over. At a news conference on June 15, Steinbrenner mentioned in passing that Swindal was “going to carry on.”

“Yes, Steve will be my successor,” Steinbrenner said through spokesman Howard Rubenstein in an e-mail response to questions from The Associated Press. “I also have other sons, daughters, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law coming along and they will remain involved. As I have said many times, “You must let the young elephants into the tent.”‘

Swindal, 50, is married to Steinbrenner’s daughter, Jennifer. He said there was no way he would be as hands-on as his father-in-law.

“I think that’s impossible. My inherent style is more delegation,” Swindal said Tuesday during a telephone interview from Tampa, Fla. “I don’t think there could ever be another George Steinbrenner. He is Mr. Yankee and has represented them for 32 years. I could only could only hope to surround myself with the best, brightest baseball minds and do a lot of listening.”

Swindal said Steinbrenner had told him he would be the successor.

“We’ve discussed that all the kids would be involved at some point in running the team and everybody would contribute,” Swindal said. “It just happens at this point in time my kids are further along, and I can spend more time in New York. The other boys have younger children, and they have to stay closer to home.”

Swindal and Jennifer Steinbrenner have a daughter who just completed her freshman year in college and a son who is at the Culver Military Academy, where George Steinbrenner went to school.

Swindal was chairman of Bay Transportation Corp., a towing company, from 1987-97 and became a Yankees general partner in 1998. Harold Steinbrenner, one of George Steinbrenner’s sons, also is a general partner. Steinbrenner’s other son, Henry, has the title of senior executive. Steinbrenner also has another daughter, Jessica.

In his e-mail responses, George Steinbrenner wouldn’t say how long he will remain in charge of the Yankees. He headed a group that bought the team in 1973.

“I love what I am doing, so I will not speculate,” he said.

AP-ES-06-28-05 1916EDT

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