Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Boss has left the building

George Michael Steinbrenner III (July 4, 1930 – July 13, 2010)

Born as George Michael Steinbrenner III on July 4, 1930 and died as "The Boss" in the early morning hours of July 13, 2010.

George has a baseball legacy that wont be touched by many. He purchased the NY Yankees for $8.8 million and two parking garages in 1973 and their current net worth is estimated to be over 1 billion dollars (current estimate is from Forbes 2009). However, the franchise stands to make a lot of money on 80 years of George memorbilia that is bound to read it's head on the baseball tycoon's death.

George himself has an interesting life. He was a star hurdler in track and field. Yes, it is a little difficult to imagine THE BOSS as we know "jumping hurdles". He has a post graduate degree in physical education from Ohio State University. He served as a second Lieutenant at Lockbourne Air Force base in Columbus Ohio.

I would love to say he entered the sports world (against his fathers wishes) in 1960 and never looked back. This is not true. He invested in The Cleveland Pipers in the ABA (American Basketball League) in 1960. The ABA folded just two years later.

To pay off his massive debt, George went on to Broadway. Yes. You read correctly. The theater. Wow. Here he invested in a half a dozen musicals including a 1974 Emmy nomination!

He also worked for the family business on the Great Lakes and emphasized on shipping grain instead of ore. This lead the business out of the red and into a money making shipping company (Kinsman Marine Transit Company).

Back to baseball.

Steinbrenner in well known for his on and off field antics. He based his team much like a military regiment. His players could wear no facial hair and the hair on their head had to be above their collar. He hired and fired managers and general managers. Including the infamous Billy Martin on five separate occasions. The Billy Martin incident also lead to a string of wacky commercials where Steinbrenner was the bunt of the joke.

In 2006 George let his son's Hank and Hal run the ball club and sought retirement in Tampa Bay, Fl where he granted no interviews and has done few public appearances.

I like to remember George as a good man. He did the greater good for the empire he created in NY with the New York Yankees. He put a fear in the heart of all baseball teams and influenced other sports teams. His team set an example for other people. They were clean cut and expected to perform off the field as they did on the field and keep their nose out of trouble. Those general ethic's that he instilled in the club is what I respect.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice piece Jenn....left off how much money Yankmes got from TV, making it a who can spend the most to unlevel the playing field...but that's just me.

David B....

7/13/10, 4:29 PM  
Blogger dr sardonicus said...

I started to seriously follow baseball at a strange time. It was the early 70's, and the Yankees sucked. Well, they weren't the worst team in the league, but the Yankees were supposed to contend for championships, not meekly play .500 ball. They had a few decent players like Bobby Murcer, Roy White, and Thurman Munson who'd still be around when the Yanks started winning championships again, but those guys couldn't compare to Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio or Mantle; they needed help, and all they had were bums like Horace Clarke.

George Steinbrenner, first and most importantly, put the swagger back in the Yankees. He enraged the other owners and many fans by blowing the roof off player salaries in order to pick up guys like Reggie Jackson. Steinbrenner paid top dollar, but he expected you to earn every penny, or else you'd hear about it in no uncertain terms. With his money, he made the Yanks proud, cocky, and hated again, which is as it should be.

Much is made about Steinbrenner's bitter feuding with Billy Martin, but George deserves a lot of credit for his willingness to let Joe Torre run the Yankees basically as he saw fit, even though the two men obviously didn't care much for each other. The 1998 Yankees were his reward; that team has a legitimate argument for being the greatest of all time. The only two teams who can challenge that are the 1927 and 1961 Yankees.

7/16/10, 5:09 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Doc, you are aware that you have your own blog that you can write a long piece like this on... right?

Thanks David

7/18/10, 5:19 PM  
Anonymous sandy said...

Quick note to invite you to hop over to my blog where I'll ad updates regarding Jan at Animal Talk, my SIL so you can keep informed on her condition post surgery.

8/18/10, 3:16 PM  

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