"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

George M Steinbrenner (1930-2010)

I wrote an obituary on The Boss for Sports Illustrated.com:

George M. Steinbrenner III, the most visible, vilified and successful baseball owner of the free-agency era, died on Tuesday morning following a massive heart attack.

In his heyday he was known as many things — most notably, as a bad loser — but there is no denying that he made the Yankees into a winner. He was the shipbuilding magnate who bought the ball club for a relative pittance ($10 million in 1973) from CBS and restored the Yankee brand to its former glory. During his reign as owner, Steinbrenner’s Yankees won 11 American League pennants and seven world championships, more than any other team in that span. The franchise’s value soared into more than a billion as it became the staple product of its own cable network while still leading the big leagues in attendance year after year.

Along the way he exerted his will in an indomitable fashion, displaying legendary impatience and volatility. He bought out his 13 limited partners by the end of his first decade as owner, prompting John McMullen, who later owned the Houston Astros, to say, “Nothing is more limited than being a limited partner of George’s.” During his first 20 years with the Yankees, Steinbrenner hired and fired 21 managers, including Billy Martin five times. Before the 1982 season, Steinbrenner announced that manager Bob Lemon should feel secure in his job; Lemon was fired 14 games into the season. Two years later, Steinbrenner talked about his manager, Yogi Berra, before the season again and said “Yogi will be the manager the entire season, win or lose.” After 16 games, Berra was fired. He would not return to Yankee Stadium for 14 years.

…One former employee of the Yankees told Steinbrenner biographer Dick Schaap, “George Steinbrenner doesn’t want to be loved, and he doesn’t want to be hated, George Steinbrenner wants to be feared.”

“Sometimes,” Steinbrenner once told a reporter, “as much as I don’t want to — I have to inflict pain. But I also inflict some joy.”

There will never be another like him. It is somehow fitting that George died on the day of the All Star Game. The man always did have a┬ánose for publicity, didn’t he?

Over at ESPN.com, the great Bill Nack gives his take.

10 comments

1 cult of basebaal   ~  Jul 13, 2010 1:16 pm

A great take on George from Joe Poz from a couple of years ago:

http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2008/11/28/king-george/

2 omarcoming   ~  Jul 13, 2010 1:27 pm

Both articles were well done.
This a day for his family and friends to remember a loved one. There will be plenty of time to assess his legacy.

Hopefully, Mr. Rubinstein will move on to his other clients. I think that a press release from GS announcing his own passing would have been inappropriate.

3 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 13, 2010 1:38 pm

This is WAY too soon, but "The Onion" has GMS's passing covered ...
http://tinyurl.com/38lk4td

4 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 13, 2010 1:38 pm

[2] "I think that a press release from GS announcing his own passing would have been inappropriate."

Perhaps, but that would have been pure the Boss.

5 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 13, 2010 1:44 pm

My original lede for the piece was a quote by George. "I don't get heart attacks. I give them." SI had the good taste to remove that. But the irony is hard to ignore, huh?

6 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 13, 2010 2:21 pm

Lupica actually, believe it or not, has a not bad piece up.

how pissed do you think Francesa is that this happened when he was on vacation?

also, according to Kim Jones there will be a special program on YES at 6 tonight.

7 thelarmis   ~  Jul 13, 2010 2:40 pm

RIP, Boss George.

8 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 13, 2010 2:46 pm

Lupica gave him the name "The Boss"

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 13, 2010 3:01 pm

[8] yeah Lupica reached back for a little extra today, it reminds you that he's so hateable because he could be a great writer if he wants to be...he just doesn't want to.

Jeter, Pettitte, A-Rod, and Girardi are having a presser in Anaheim at 4:15

10 Yankster   ~  Jul 13, 2010 4:41 pm

Not to distract from this big Yankee news, but a person who is GS's antithesis also died today: Harvey Pekar. He refused promotion for decades to remain a file clerk at Veteran's Affairs while writing arguably a major American masterpiece, American Splendor. Anyway, He and GS might have been linked, matter and antimatter.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/arts/design/13pekar.html

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