If you’re a baseball fan, then you must know by now that George Steinbrenner, The Boss, principal owner of the Yankees, died Tuesday of a heart attack. His presence will be sorely missed by all of us Yankee fans.
I think that many fans of other teams openly hated him, but admired and respected him in secret because of his single-minded determination to win, and these fans of other teams wished their owners had that same drive. There are probably quite a few other owners who are only in the game for the money, but the fans of these teams suffer more often than not. I’m sure that Steinbrenner cared about increasing the value of his investment in the team, but his main focus was on winning and putting money back into the organization, rather than pocketing any profit.
When I worked with the Yanks in the Dominican Republic, I always hoped that George would make a surprise visit to the academy, but, of course, he never did. I once tried to call him or, at least, get a message to him. This was way back in ’77, I believe, and it was during the game in which manager Billy Martin and outfielder Reggie Jackson almost came to fisticuffs in the dugout. I found the number for the Yankee office and gave them a call, but the line was busy. I tried for about half an hour, but I never could get through. I just wanted to let The Boss or someone in the Front Office know that I supported Martin and that Reggie should be disciplined or traded. As it turned out, poor Billy was hired and fired about 5 different times, and Reggie is now a special consultant for the Yanks. George loved both of ’em.
RIP, Mr. Steinbrenner.