George Steinbrenner, a/k/a The Boss, dead at 80.
With all due respect to Mr. Springsteen, even the biggest Bruce fan in New Jersey knows who owns that nickname. Larger than life, a master at nabbing the back page of the New York City tabloids, George Steinbrenner was in your face 24/7. He led a fascinating life and was a great businessman, but the story really took off on the day he took over majority ownership of the most famous sports franchise on Earth.
Even in death he drew attention; passing away on the morning of baseball’s All Star Game. I guess he was just waiting for Bob Sheppard to go first. This way he could be sure to get the proper introduction at the next destination.
Best comment of the day (not my words) from one of many message boards buzzing about the news: “Isn’t it ironic that one of the biggest blowhards in sports will have his memory celebrated on national television with a moment of silence?”
You’ll read a million stories about this sports legend, about how he meddled in the most minute business affairs and drove his employees crazy, how he dumped managers and general managers like used tissues, and how even the best players wilted under his constant myopia over the years. Google his name along with that of Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, Dave Winfield and especially Billy Martin and you’ll be entertained for weeks.
But the man wanted to win above all else. And win he did.
I knew another side of the man. Years ago I worked for a celebrity who had a relationship with the Yankee organization, and of course, the two of them got along famously. But that warmth and kindness extended past the famous person right down through everyone in our organization, and as we got to know many in the Yankee family we found out how quietly magnanimous the man was. He bragged long and hard about baseball, but he did a lot of charitable work behind the scenes in relative anonymity.
And what truly egotistical man would let himself be parodied long and hard like he did on Seinfeld? Or mock his own persona (and with some acting chops) on Saturday Night Live?
R.I.P., George – you were truly one of a kind.
George Steinbrenner wiki.
New York Yankees official website