"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Ratso Rizzo

Since Game 6 is cancelled tonight, you’ll have time to check out this long piece on Howie Spira by Luke O’Brien over at Deadspin:

Howie recognized opportunity when it arrived in 1981, from the San Diego Padres. Dave Winfield was a four-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove winner, and one of the best athletes on the planet—drafted out of college in 1973 by pro teams in three sports. Howie had introduced himself to Winfield a year earlier when the Padres were in town to play the Mets. A few months later, the Yankees inked the outfielder to the richest contract in baseball—$23 million over 10 years—and Howie started in with the blandishments.

“I was focused on Dave like a horse with blinders,” he said. “He was going to be the wealthiest, most powerful ballplayer, and I made up my mind that that was the place for me.”

Howie sent a dozen long-stemmed roses to the secretary at Winfield’s charity. The flowers were Howie’s calling card. When he played at journalism, he sent roses to almost every girl who worked for the Mets. Hit on most of them, too. Winfield’s secretary agreed to go on a date. “We had dinner,” Howie said. “And she was the dinner.”


1 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 26, 2011 4:15 pm

this is great writing

2 rbj   ~  Oct 26, 2011 4:38 pm

No baseball tonight :-(

3 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 26, 2011 4:40 pm

Game cancelled. Gives you time to read this piece. And listen to the audio. If you don't mind getting the Willies.

4 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 26, 2011 4:53 pm

the Steinbrenner tapes are like something from beyond the grave, creepy

and ooooooh boy George don't look good here.

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 26, 2011 5:05 pm

and the tape with the bookie is absolutely terrifying

6 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 26, 2011 8:52 pm


You know what, Spira is scum but George was even worse. I think he should have been banned for life for that.

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 26, 2011 9:48 pm

Awesome read. How cound he not get a book deal out of this? Tremendous story.

8 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 26, 2011 11:50 pm

[6] From the Fay Vincent wiki:

Per Fay Vincent's interview on WFAN (NY) on July 14, 2010 (the day after Steinbrenner died), Vincent had wanted to suspend Steinbrenner for only two years. It was Steinbrenner who asked for a life-time ban as he was tired of baseball and wanted to help run the US Olympic effort. Steinbrenner knew he could not run the Olympic effort if he was suspended, so he asked for a life-time ban, which he received. Steinbrenner then applied for (and received) reinstatement after two years.

...after Fay Vincent was already gone, of course; not that I believe that would have mattered at the time. Nothing noble in either regard.

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 26, 2011 11:58 pm

this was one of those situations where no one, really, came out looking good.

Spira is a scumbag, that's the long and short of it. But George was frankly no better, he knew exactly what he was getting into here and simply didn't care. I think enough time after his death has passed for us to all agree that when he wanted to be a son-of-a-bitch and break a few rules to get his man, George had no problem doing it.

Winfield was no saint either, as his foundation turned out to be little more than a personal piggy bank for the people running it. And Winnie can claim he had no knowledge of that, but I'm not buying it.

This is just something that makes you wanna shower after reading it...which is why it HAS to be made into a movie!

10 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Oct 27, 2011 12:21 am

[9] Raging, I agree completely. Everyone in the story (including the author, frankly) comes off looking shady. And definately shoudl be a movie! When you think how many boring sports films "based on real events" there have been, this would be insane by comparison.

11 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 27, 2011 4:29 am

I loved Dave Winfield when he was a Yankee. But I have heard some bad stuff about him. Having a shit-fit at a multiplex theater in Paramus (during his Yankee contract) because they wouldn't give him free tickets. My college roommate was an usher that day.

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