"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Boss is Gone

George Steinbrenner has suffered a major heart attack and is in critical condition. He celebrated his 80th birthday less than ten days ago. Our thoughts are with his family.

Update: According to the Daily News, George Steinbrenner, the man who made the Yankees relevant again, who made them into a giant winner, and the most-hated team in America, is dead. Steinbrenner was often a distasteful man who treated his employees poorly and I spent much of my childhood cursing his existence. But he was also without question one of the most visable and important owners in American professional sports, a true icon. Odd as it is to say, he’ll be missed.


Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT


1 RIYank   ~  Jul 13, 2010 9:40 am

Oh boy.
Tweets and radio are saying that he didn't make it. He's gone.

I never liked the guy, at all, and obviously we've all been expecting this day to come. But man, it won't be the same without George. My eyes are wet.

2 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 13, 2010 9:46 am

Daily News says he's gone...

like part of the family....

3 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 13, 2010 9:52 am

A real SOB ... but the results of his labors .... undeniable.

4 Dimelo   ~  Jul 13, 2010 9:55 am

Sad, however, life is tough but fair. RIP in George. Thanks for all the great memories

5 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 13, 2010 9:56 am

George once said, "I don't get heart attacks, I give them."

Man, lifei s a bitch, huh?

6 monkeypants   ~  Jul 13, 2010 9:57 am

A buddy of mine from grad school, who was no Yankees fan, used to joke darkly that Steinbrenner, like some sort of real life Mr. Burns, would arrange for various players and former players to contract illnesses or die (like Daryl Strawberry) in order to rally team during the season. part of me hopes this is a massive ploy to give the boys a boost in second half of the season.

More seriously, though, this just adds to the weirdness this season and my growing sense of discontinuity in following the Yankees, which I mentioned here the other day. It just doesn't feel the same these days.

7 Simone   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:02 am

RIP, George.

8 mjpucci   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:02 am

Very sad. It's going to be an epic weekend at the Stadium. Old-Timers Game has now turned into a public memorial service.

9 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:05 am

He was the guy that caused me to drift away from the Yanks in my youth. He was the guy that had to be removed from the equation to get the Yanks back on track.

Yet he was the guy that siezed the opportunity to reestablish this franchise as the pinnacle of sports with such force and vision and effectiveness that the past 15 years rivals any in its history. And his transformation and evolution as a human being and a professional is a staggering achievment.

He never attained perfection, but his journey through life was certainly worth watching. And as much as I disliked him in my youth, I appreciate his efforts to rage against his worst nature in the latter part of his life.

10 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:06 am

Rest in Peace, George. Thank You for everything.

Not a good week at all.

11 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:12 am

[9] That's beautifully said, Jon. Thanks for giving voice to the thoughts I've been having these last few minutes.

I never drifted away from the Yanks, but boy did I ever curse him as a kid for ruining the Yanks. The day his suspension was announced was one of the happiest of my childhood. But I softened on the miserable SOB in his later years, and I think I was genuinely miss him, sort of. Kinda feels like he's been gone these last couple of years anyway.

12 Raf   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:15 am

I'm stunned. Like Sheppard, I knew this day was going to come, it was only a matter of time, but it doesn't make the passing any less stunning.

Love him or hate him, no one can take away what he has done on and off the field, and what he has meant to baseball.

13 FreddySez   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:15 am

RIP Mr. Steinbrenner, and condolences to your family. Thanks for a great ride.

My god, how fast it's all disappearing. The yard. The voice. The boss.

My childhood feels a lot farther away than it did just a few months ago.

14 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:16 am

[11] I agree totally, I will miss him too and I haven't felt his presence in a while. Especially with the 200 million budget this year that was actually kinda enforced.

In the past 30 years, he changed (or at least my perception of him changed, I never met him, so what do I know) as much as I imagine anyone can w/o some radical surgery. That's pretty great.

15 seamus   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:16 am

RIP George. We'll miss you.

16 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:19 am

[12] I think we all saw it coming with both of them, but having them both go relatively suddenly two days apart is a real punch in the stomach.

17 seamus   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:19 am

Actually, this reminds me of when my uncle passed. The viewing was full of family and co-workers and friends who all said that same thing. "He was such a pain in the ass, but boy did I love him." That's kind of how I feel about Steinbrenner in a sense. Though I certainly didn't know him well enough to say I love him. But you get the point.

18 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:21 am

I hear The Who's lyrics "rock is dead" ....

19 lroibal   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:22 am

George did everything big. When he was bad, he was god awful, but when he was good, he and the Yanks were great.
R.I.P. George

20 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:23 am

for years I've said "the day George closes his eyes, its gonna be like the Pope died in NY"...I think that pretty much covers it

21 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:25 am

[6] The times, they are-a-changing, for sure. You try to put off growing up, in some ways, as long as you can, but change is inevitable. I'm glad Hughes has finally done what I thought he would do, and I hope he stays healthy for a long time and keeps it up. Having guys like him around will help take the sting out when the real big change happens, and #42 isn't closing games anymore.

[16] Just so long as there isn't a third coming soon. Shudder - that's a morbid thought.

Remember when he bawled his eyes out after they won in '96? I think that's when I forgave the Boss for all the b.s. in the 80s. Probably didn't hurt that I was practically bawling my eyes out, too.

22 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:27 am

[21] Personally for me, I lost a coworker friend and gigantic Yankee fan on Friday. Not a good weekend.

23 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:28 am

Also, in retrospect, it really is extra special that they won last year now.

24 Just Fair   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:29 am

My parents always wax nostalgic over "The Honeymooners." I'll be doing the same with "Seinfeld" in 30-50 years. Always loved Larry David's Big Stein. RIP, George. "How could you trade Jay Buhner!"

25 Raf   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:31 am

This must've caught the MLB Network off guard. I haven't seen a "Breaking News" cutaway, though it has been mentioned on their "baseball crawl" at the bottom of the screen.

26 Raf   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:31 am

[25] Meanwhile, SportsCenter's airing a tribute

27 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:32 am

[23] Sorry to hear that, Matt. My condolences.

28 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:33 am

[25] Yeah. I turned MLB Network on to see Sean Casey screaming about Christ only knows what at the Derby

29 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:34 am

[26] Not surprised. But ESPN is live all morning, right, while MLBN is (I think) just re-runs of last night's shows.

I wonder if Bud will say anything before the ASG tonight? I can only imagine what the Yanks - and YES - are going to do on Friday.

30 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:37 am

[30] Saturday is Old Timer's Day. Its going to be a huge double public funeral.

Strawberry is on ESPN right now

31 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:38 am

Just wow.

32 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:40 am

some are saying the Yanks contingent should come back from the ASG, absolutely not. I can think of no better tribute than a big A-Rod home run and an MVP performance by Jeter. with a scoreless inning by Andy thrown in for good measure. George would not want it any other way.

33 Raf   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:41 am

[29] Reruns or not, I would think that they would at least have a "Breaking News" segment.

34 Yankee Mama   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:51 am

I've felt George's presence around the team less and less these last few years. His press quotes have been wooden and clearly his voice was stifled with weak health. I no longer cringe when I look at the back page of the Post or Daily News prepared to read one of George's sound bites.

He was a blustery character who alienated some, amused others or both.

Let's hope they win won in his memory (and that of Bob Sheppard).

35 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:52 am

Any news on funeral arrangements ... I'm sure the team will want to be there.

36 The Mick536   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:53 am

Money can buy a team, but not good health or a long life. Rest in peace, George. You lived a useful and interesting life.

I recommend Peter Golenbock's book. Its a little too friendly at times, but nonetheless informative.

[0] I would take issue with the statement that George made the Yankees the most hated team in America. The Yankees had Farrell/De3very, Colonel Tillinghast, Jacob Ruppert, EG Barrow, McPhail, George Weiss, and the dynamic duo, Topping/Webb. Speaking for those of us who have rooted for more than the last three decades, he deserves a place in the Yankee pantheon of heros. But, please don't think that any of the owners, other than the Circus guy, or many of the GM's had clean hands.

I would also suggest that sometimes the events of the time assist a man achieve greatness. Look at what was going on in baseball when he bought the Yankees. He invented the plan to deal with free agency. Leaving aside the hirings and firings aside, he treated people like shit. And, for you exceptionalists who only remember the Championships, I went to the games when not a lot of people did. Some might say that the Yankees benefitted from his being suspended, also, period when Michael and Watson, built the team of today.

He is not bigger than the team, for sure, and he is not bigger than the game.

37 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 13, 2010 10:59 am

Now Kevin Millar is yelling on MLB Network. Talk about completely dropping the ball.

38 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:01 am

[36] too soon

via Twitter:


One of greatest quotes about Steinbrenner comes from Dolphins PR guy Harvey Greene, who was Yankees director of media relations in late 80s: "The phone would ring in the middle of the night," Greene once said. "...And you knew it was either Mr. Steinbrenner or a death in the family. After a while, you started to root for a death in the family."

39 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:16 am

thinking about it now, over the past few years we've lost so many people who made the experience of being a Yankee fan what it is. Not just household names, but the guys who were our's and our's alone. George today, Bob Sheppard earlier in the week. But even before that: Bobby two years ago, Scooter, Eddie Layton, Arthur Richman last year. Again, not all guys whose impact is felt so much outside of Yankee circles, but for us they were part of the family.

40 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:19 am

Winfield on ESPN now.

41 monkeypants   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:21 am

39) and the stadium itself, which was always a huge, huge part of the Yankee experience for me.

42 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:23 am

If there's no place for George in actual heaven, baseball heaven will happily accommodate him -- and he might even prefer the latter.
He was a 5-star Yankee general, and I salute him.
Rest in Peace, Boss.

43 Raf   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:29 am

[37] Especially considering the way they treated Rodriguez on the list as breaking news.

44 Raf   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:30 am

[43] Perhaps Selina Roberts needs to write a book on Steinbrenner?

45 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:31 am

[37, 43] I'm not defending them dropping the ball on this, but maybe its because everyone is pretty much in Anaheim and really have no place to broadcast from?

I REALLY really hope a Yankee does something big tonight

46 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:38 am

Tweet from NYC Mayor's Office:
We’re lowering the flags in City Hall Plaza in honor of George Steinbrenner - a man who raised 7 championship flags at Yankee Stadium

47 Raf   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:45 am

[45] Given the MLBN roster, I doubt that everybody's there

48 Raf   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:47 am

[47] And Bob Costas is doing a piece on him on MLBN

49 moismycopilot   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:47 am

I'm of an age where I was too young for most of Steinbrenner's worst behavior and excesses to really register (I only remember when he fired Yogi because I've been told the story about how we heard the news when we were on vacation so many times. In my defense, I was 5 and it was Disney World). By the time I was conscious of him, when he was reinstated, he was more like a guy who had been kind of awful to his kids, but mellowed out for the "grandkids" in that second championship run. It's hard to lose the old guard like this--the ones who shaped the game of baseball and the Yankees so profoundly. I doubt we'll see the likes of George Steinbrenner again, for better or for worse.

My thoughts are with his family. Last month I lost two of my grandparents, so I can sympathize what they must be going through, on an even more public stage than I did.

50 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:47 am

Talked to my pop a little while ago, and he said I've I'd read the Madden book I gave him for Father's Day, I wouldn't think much of George's passing. I'll probably get to it later this week.
No question, the man had his faults, and sins, but who among us does not?

Good guys like Piniella, Yogi, Winfield etc. knew what an SOB he could be. I was a kid in the 70s and remember Gallo's portrait of him as General VonSteingrabber, a nasty, petty villain worthy of scorn.
By the late 80s/early 90s I was old enough to understand George's vicious antics, and I thought he brought shame to the Yankees.

Not that winning forgives all sins, but I like to think George redeemed himself later in life, and even if I didn't agree with all of his baseball decisions, I appreciated his dedication to winning. I appreciated his bluster. I appreciated that he was a loud, original voice in a mealymouthed world. For better or worse, he was the organization's number one fan, and supporter. For that alone, he's worthy of our honor. For the 7 championships, he deserves our gratitude.

51 Dimelo   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:48 am

The other thing, George died as a defending champion and no one can ever take that away.

It's going to be interesting to see Torre at the wake, I'm sure he'll attend, I wonder if that will be another big story - Torre and the Yankees finally making up. I'm sure that will be one of the theme stories being written about by the likes of Lupica.

52 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:52 am

Sterling on WFAN right now

I woke up this morning and just had a lot to do today around the house so decided to call out of work and get some stuff done, kinda glad I did.

Might put on The Bronx is Burning DVD later

53 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:54 am


I tried to get into TBIB series when it was on .... Oliver Platt as Boss George didn't cut it for me. The right amount of bluster, but not enough of a physical resemblance.

Turturro as Martin was inspired casting.

54 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 13, 2010 11:56 am

[51] yeah, Torre's attendance will be a worthy sidebar, even though I think his falling out with the Yankees had less to do with the old man, and more to do with his inability/lack of desire to work with the Steinbrothers.

I'm more interested in hearing Piniella's remembrances. I'm not sure if he and George ever buried the hatchet, and there's a lot of history there.

56 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Jul 13, 2010 12:08 pm

A sad day, a dog eared page is turned, and for his family his demise is tragic. Steinbrenner was a difficult man to support, but easy to admire. He epitomized the 80's ethic of winning at any cost, ethics or empathy be damned. He kept his minions on their toes, and it was his way or the highway, but he was mostly right.

He took a team that was on the ropes back to contention, and while he complained about the venue, the Yankees rose from the burning ashes of the Bronx to become an anchor for the borough's renewal. He was able to see the monument to him, the new Yankee Stadium, debut as a success even in the worst economy in 70 years.

My sympathies to his family, and the organization he built, and today I can only think of his success, and the teams achievement.

But I would not be honest if I did not admit, that to this long time Yankee fan, his actions, ethics, and bombast at times stretched my fandom to the thinnest level.

All hail to George. Maybe we need more big men and women like him, with resolute ideas and tenacious tactics to make things happen in today's troubled environment.

57 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 13, 2010 12:14 pm



Boss: Brian ... didn't we discuss not having that fat p*ssy toad Irabu out on the mound anymore.
Cashman: Yes George.

Here's a Billy and George commercial:

58 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 13, 2010 12:25 pm

[54] I bet Lou cries a bit, and swears a little too. At least I hope so.

59 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 13, 2010 12:34 pm

Statement from Steinbrenner family:

60 Dimelo   ~  Jul 13, 2010 12:57 pm

I just read the email from the Yankees about The Boss' passing. The last line in their email reads:
In the 37 years he was Principal Owner of the club, the Yankees posted a Major League-best .566 winning percentage (3,364-2,583-3 record) while winning 11 American League pennants and seven World Championships (also the most in the Majors).

I saw the 3 ties, does anyone know what they were? Are they including spring training games? Though, I doubt throughout George's tenure they only tied 3 times. I was really confused by that.

61 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 13, 2010 1:09 pm

Got a new thread above, with a link to an obit I did on George for SI.com...

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver