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George Steinbrenner almost bought the Colorado Rockies -- the other Colorado Rockies

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who died today, was among the most colorful characters in all of sports -- so much so that the satire of him perpetrated by the folks at Seinfeld sometimes seemed less loony than the genuine item.

But did you know Steinbrenner almost wound up as the owner of the Colorado Rockies? It's true. But the Rockies we're talking about didn't play baseball.

Long before there was a Colorado Rockies baseball team, Denver was the home of a National Hockey League franchise of the same name. As noted by our friends at Wikipedia, the team played here between 1976 and 1982, but without great success either financially or in terms of on-the-ice performances; they only made the playoffs once.

By 1982, owner Peter Gilbert, who'd purchased the team a little over a year earlier, was looking to unload it -- and Steinbrenner was among those who considered purchasing the Rockies and relocating the squad back east. But no: According to a May 26, 1982 United Press International piece, Steinbrenner subsequently withdrew from bidding, declaring that the $30 million pricetag Gilbert had affixed was "much too steep for that particular club.''

In the end, New Jersey's John McMullen bought the Rockies and reinvented the team as the New Jersey Devils. And Steinbrenner? He continued to delight and frustrate the fans of New York for another 28 years, before finally heading to the Great Beyond.

Where George won't be the boss -- although give him time.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts