A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 14, 2013
“Breathing first, winning next”

"Breathing first, winning next” is a philosophy attributed to New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (1930-2010). In May 2004, Steinbrenner told Parade Magazine, “"Winning is next to breathing. That’s what made this country great.”

A Sports Illustrated profile on May 10, 2004 contained the now-popular lines:

Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.
—G.M.S., 1998”

It’s not known when Steinbrenner said it in 1998.


Wikipedia: George Steinbrenner
George Michael Steinbrenner III (July 4, 1930 – July 13, 2010) was an American businessman who was the principal owner and managing partner of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees. During Steinbrenner’s 37-year ownership from 1973 to his death in July 2010, the longest in club history, the Yankees earned seven World Series titles and 11 pennants. His outspokenness and role in driving up player salaries made him one of the sport’s most controversial figures. Steinbrenner was also involved in the Great Lakes shipping industry.

30 March 1980, Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, “To George Steinbrenner The Object Is to Win” by Marguerite Michaels, Parade Magazine, pg. 4, col. 1:
“Winning is next to breathing,” Steinbrenner said. “That’s what made this country great.”

Sports Illustrated
May 10, 2004
Mister Softie?
At 73, George Steinbrenner is saying lots of nice things and acting happier than ever. But nobody’s relaxing in Yankeedom. The Boss still has more power than any other owner in sports, and he knows how to use it

Tom Verducci
(...)
“George will have full control” says Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella, a friend, a former Yankees player and the New York manager from 1986 through ‘88, “as long as he’s breathing.”

Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.
—G.M.S., 1998

Google Books
Why I Hate The Yankees
By Kevin O’Connell and Josh Pahigian
Guilford, CT: Lyons Press
2005
Pg. X:
As he likes to remind folks, he’s built his entire life and career on the simple philosophy: “Winning is the most important things, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.” Notice there’s no mention of ethics or fair play in George’s little mantra.

Google Books
The Yankees Fanatic
Edited by Randy Howe
Guilford, CT: Lyons Press
2007
Pg. 321:
Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.
GEORGE STEINBRENNER

Bleacher Report—NY Yankees
“Breathing First, Winning Next.”
BY PATRICK STAPLETON (CONTRIBUTOR) ON JULY 13, 2010
The world changed forever for George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees, and the sports landscape on January 3, 1973.
(...)
Steinbrenner once said, “Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.” He certainly ran his life under that motto and treated others as if they should feel the same way.  The tears that would roll down his eyes after every Yankees World Series Championship showed how overjoyed he was by receiving the greatest trophy in all of sports.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Sunday, April 14, 2013 • Permalink