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Posts Tagged ‘George Steinbrenner’

Here’s a clip from April of 1987, when George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin appeared on Letterman. Billy shares a story about a time he went hunting with Mickey down in Texas.

If you’d like to see the full interview, fast forward to the 15:15 mark on this video.

 

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Hal and Hank Steinbrenner (Hal is on the left)

The Daily News reported this morning that the Steinbrenner family may have the Yankees up for sale.

“Rumors are flying in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that the family that has owned Major League Baseball’s premiere franchise since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973 is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees.”

Later this morning, the Yanks issued a flat denial. Via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

“‘I just learned of the Daily News story. It is pure fiction,’ (Hal) Steinbrenner said in a statement. ‘The Yankees are not for sale. I expect that the Yankees will be in my family for many years to come.'”

Is this a case of the Daily News, forever locked in a back-page battle with the New York Post, creating a story to spur readership? Or are the Yankees actually on the block? If this were any other tabloid, my gut would be to dismiss the story outright. But this one has Bill Madden in the byline, and over the years I’ve come to respect Mr. Madden’s ability to unearth behind-the-scenes information. So…

The answer may not lie in the perceived value of the Yankees franchise, currently reported to be around $3 billion. Instead, it might be better to examine the current ownership group for any signs they may want out of the baseball business. The two principles, Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, are near polar opposites in terms of their personalities. Hank is much more the fan and fiery competitor. Like George, he also has something of a mercurial temperament – this is the son who lambasted the NL for not having the DH, called out Derek Jeter for building a mansion in Tampa, and stoked the Yankee – Red Sox rivalry by memorably deriding “Red Sox Nation.” Hank even looks more like his father than his brother. Hal, on the other hand, is far more concerned with the bottom line. Hal once referred to himself as a “finance geek.” While it should be obvious to anyone that while he may have been one, I can’t ever picture the bombastic George referring to himself that way.

There is also the fact that Hal is beginning to realize that while Hank was probably overzealous in giving Alex Rodriguez a ten year, $260 million extension going into his age 33 season, his preferred method of building from within isn’t exactly as easy as Gene Michael made it look in the 1990’s. None of the top prospects he anticipated being part of the team’s core by now – Phil Hughes, Jesus Montero, Eduardo Nunez, Dellin Betances, Austin Romine, Ian Kennedy and Manny Banuelos – has been able to establish themselves as major leaguers. Of that list, only Hughes is a regular contributor; Montero and Kennedy are now elsewhere, Nunez is back in the minors and Betances, Romine and Banuelos have been plagued by inconsistency and injury while in the high minors. He understands that the Yankee fan base won’t stand for losing. In order to keep the seats filled at Yankee Stadium (and ad revenue on the YES Network peaking), he needs a winning product on the field. At the same time, Hal has made it a goal to have payroll below the anticipated $189 million luxury-tax threshold by the 2014 season – a season in which the Yankees already have $75 million in salary committed to four players and will likely be well over $100 million if they decide to resign any combination of Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Ivan Nova, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin.

While I find it hard to believe that Hank would be willing to part ways with the Yankees, it isn’t hard to see Hal wanting to leave the circus and go home to heading Steinbrenner Properties. If this season’s on-the-field troubles continue, I suspect Hal may begin earnestly looking for a way out. He’ll be pressured to do something that really doesn’t work well in the New York market: find inexpensive talent to replace popular (and productive) players jettisoned for contract reasons. He got to preview the way a frugal owner gets treated in the situation when negotiating Derek Jeter’s contract last year. Imagine him playing hardball over money with Cano and Granderson, two popular players entering their prime and the resulting back page fallout from that.

The big question is whether the rest of the family trusts Hank to run the financial side of the team and keep his temper in check. Those of us old enough to remember George Steinbrenner from the 1980’s shudder a bit at the thought of Hank reprising that role. Still, if Hal actually does want out (that $3 billion price tag is awfully enticing to a “numbers guy”), I can see the family giving Hank first shot at forming a new ownership group. It would certainly be interesting, in an All My Children kind of way.

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Remember when, during the original Star Wars (Episode IV for you younger fans), Ben Kenobi pulls a Jedi mind trick on a pair of stormtroopers? “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” he intones – and the troopers repeat mindlessly after him. We Yankee fans are wondering if ol’ General Obi Wan was employed by the Yankee front office to pull a similar trick on us during the off-season. “These aren’t the pitchers you’re looking for…”

After twelve games, the Yankees are 6-6. While a .500 is hardly the record that the team’s fans expect, the Yanks could be worse off. Equally unsteady play from the rest of the AL East means they haven’t dug themselves a major hole – they’re only a game from first place (but also only two from last). That being said, the fans are grumbling and we all know that in days of yore, King George would have Joe Binder on speed dial.

Much of the grumbling seems to be centering on the offense. While it’s sputtered at times, and Yankee hitters have done a miserable job with RISP (their team .240 batting average in such situations is 26 points below the league average), the offense has still scored the second most runs in the league. Simply put, even if A-Rod and Robbie Cano continue to have dismal 2012 seasons, the rest of the team should still score enough to keep the team in any game.

No, the problem has been the starting pitching. 12 starts, but only four of them have been “quality starts” – that is, at least 6 innings and no more than 3 runs allowed. At this point, only one starter has a better than league average ERA (Ivan Nova, at 4.15). The rest of the rotation have ERA’s north of 5. The back end, featuring Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes have been particularly putrid so far: the pair have combined to allow 34 baserunners, 17 runs and 5 home runs in only 18 innings over 4 games. It’s gotten to the point that the Yankee hitters have to feel as if they’re down by four before they even leave the clubhouse on days when either of the duo pitches. The rest of the staff hasn’t been much better, although CC Sabathia seemed to finally wake up in his last start. The book is still out on Hiroki Kuroda: he threw a game for the ages during the home opener, but followed it up by throwing batting practice to the Twins last night.

And right now, hopes are pinned on the returns of Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda. While you would be hard pressed to say either can be worse than the current fourth and fifth starters, a dose of realism is in order. Pettitte is returning from retirement, will be 40 in June and hasn’t thrown 200 innings since 2008. Pineda was a phenom for Seattle during the first half last year. His fastball disappeared after the 2011 All-Star break, along with his success. The Yankees diagnosed him with a shoulder strain during Spring Training, which is why he is currently on the DL. If Pettitte is a victim of Father Time and/or Pineda can’t rediscover the velocity that made him a feared righty last year, then the Yankees season might well be sunk. Because let’s face it: Kuroda might be experienced, but he lacks the stuff to be a true number 2. Nova is probably in the right spot as a number 3 guy. But Garcia is quickly proving that last year’s high batting average against isn’t something that you can pitch around consistently. Hughes is showing that 2010 wasn’t a break-out season for him, but rather a wondrous year in an otherwise sub-par career.

Tonight is another game and another start for Hughes. It’s time for he and Garcia to prove they can get guys out in the major leagues. If they can’t, then 2012 is going to be a long season.

***UPDATE: Game in progress, top 1st. Hughes wasn’t helped by an Eduardo Nunez error, but he’s allowed four runs. ***

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From the Yankees Official Website:

The Yankees put up a statue of late owner George Steinbrenner at their Spring Training complex in Tampa, Fla., on Friday.

The bronze, life-sized statue — a duplicate of the one that sits in the Gate 2 lobby at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx — weighs more than 600 pounds and has been placed on a three-ton granite base at the entrance of Steinbrenner Field, according to the Tampa Tribune. It depicts Steinbrenner in a suit, wearing his 2009 World Series championship ring, the 27th in the organization’s history and the seventh in an ownership stint that saw Steinbrenner return the Yankees to prominence.

The Tribune added that the statue cites the Yankees’ record under Steinbrenner and some of his other accomplishments, such as his tenure as vice president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, his time on the board of the NCAA Foundation Board of Trustees and his charitable donations.

An accompanying plaque reads: “A great philanthropist whose charitable efforts were mostly performed without fanfare, he followed a personal motto of the greatest form of charity is anonymity.”

The Yankees will have a public ceremony at the statue on Feb. 26, the opening home game of their Grapefruit League schedule.

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I took an English course this past semester at school, and the main theme of the class was “Spectacle”. For our final paper, we were able to choose a topic that we thought fit that category, and I chose George Steinbrenner’s reign as owner of the New York Yankees. The purpose of my paper was to show how the different personality traits that he possessed led to success in many different aspects of his job.

spec·ta·cle [spek-tuh-kuhl]

–noun
1. anything presented to the sight or view, esp. something of a striking or impressive kind:
2. a public show or display, esp. on a large scale

Steinbrenner’s Reign

              George M. Steinbrenner III has gone down in the record books as one of the most controversial and successful owners in the history of sports. His demand for excellence and his hunger to be the best did not always put him in a good light with the people he worked with, because he was stubborn and wanted to do things his way. During his reign as owner with the New York Yankees, he had run-ins with authorities, MLB officials, players, and team personnel. If things didn’t go according to his plan, he would take matters into his own hands, berating players and messing around with the minds of his managers and employees. Even though many of his tactics were thought to be unethical, Steinbrenner transcended the game of baseball in the process by: bringing about the development of free agency, having the first organization to own and operate its own television cable network, controlling the back pages of the newspapers, and changed the way other clubs ran their teams. These developments allowed the fans to forgive and forget about the stunts Steinbrenner pulled. It was his attitude, competitiveness, larger than life personality, and his generosity that allowed his to shine the brightest in the biggest media market in the country. These personality traits were critical factors in his success as an owner: financially, on the ball field, and with the media and fans.

            Steinbrenner was a remarkable competitor, who was motivated to be successful like no other owner in the sports world. “Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next,” he said. His whole life was a competition, dating back to his childhood when he was constantly trying to gain approval from his father. George’s father, Henry Steinbrenner, “ruled with an iron fist” and instilled the idea that winning was all that mattered in life. George could tell him that he won two out of three races in school, but his father would only focus on why he lost that third race and what went wrong. In 1973, Steinbrenner and a small group of investors purchased the New York Yankees from CBS for $8.8 million dollars. Thirty-seven years later, the organization is now worth $1.6 billion, which is the most valuable baseball team in the league (and 3rd most valuable franchise in the world. 1st: Manchester United $1.8B, 2nd: Dallas Cowboys $1.65B). When he first bought the team, he led New Yorkers to believe that he would not be a hands-on owner, but he would rather keep his distance from the team and go back to his family shipping business. “I won’t be active in the day-to-day operations of the club at all. I can’t spread myself so thin. I’ve got enough headaches with my shipping company. We plan absentee ownership as far as running the Yankees is concerned,” he stated. It turned out to be the complete opposite, because he wanted his own project to work on, rather than staying put in his father’s shipping company. “I’m not here to run a country club,” Steinbrenner said. “I’m here to run a winning organization.” He soon donned the nicknames “The Boss” and “Manager George”, and would meddle in the general manager’s meetings and many of the on-field decisions. There were several occasions during the 1970’s where George would call Yankees manager, Billy Martin in the dugout during a game and give him a tongue-lashing. He would complain about anything from why they didn’t bunt in a particular situation to why Reggie Jackson wasn’t batting fourth in the lineup. It was a display of just how unreasonable George could be at times. (more…)

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George M. Steinbrenner III “The Boss” (80, 1930-2010)

Bob Sheppard “The Voice of God” (99, 1910-2010)

Ralph Houk “The Major” (90, 1919-2010),

Gil McDougald (82, 1928-2010)

Gil McDougald starred for some of the great Yankees teams of the 1950s.

Maury Allen (78, 1932-2010)

Bill Shannon (69, 1941-2010)

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Things are as quiet as Yankee Stadium in December

These are strange times in Yankeeland and a reminder that GMS is no longer in control. Why? Because it’s so…quiet.

Seriously, when was the last time the New York Yankees had a quiet offseason? And especially one with this many possible plots:

  • Contract negotiations with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera
  • Andy Pettite’s impending decision
  • Cliff Lee on the market
  • Other high-profile free agents available: Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Vladimir Guerrerro, etc.
  • Dave Eiland’s sudden – and mysterious – exile (and the need to find a new pitching coach)
  • The catching situation
  • High demand around baseball for the top Yankee pitching prospects.
  • …and more

It’s almost eerie, really. The amount of noise generated by Jeter’s negotiations pale, for instance, to those between the Boss and Reggie. Even the management situation was shuffled on and off the back pages in a matter of hours. Anyone remember Billy I, II, III, IV and V? Heck, even Hank has been quiet – and if there is one person in the Yankee Universe we should be able to count on for a headline making quote, it’s Hank.

Perhaps they’re keeping things under wraps out of deference to the Giants and Rangers. (Certainly not a GMS tactic).  This whole having to scan a dozen papers to find one paragraph that even mentions the Yankees is just plain strange for a guy who grew up with the Bronx Zoo. I suppose for some, the silence that has clamped down on Yankee Stadium is a welcome respite from the nearly 40 years of Boss-fueled headlines. To me, it’s reminiscent of the days of CBS’ ownership. You know. The days when nothing happened and when it did, nobody really cared. New manager? Meh. Trade? Double meh.

So, Hal, Hank and Brian – please, give us something, anything, to discuss. I never thought the Yankees would cede the back pages to the Mess. Face it guys – sometimes no news is just…no news. And for the both the Yankees and baseball, that isn’t good.

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Many people have said that nobody throws a ceremony like the New York Yankees. It’s so true. The Yankees held a very emotional tribute for the Steinbrenner family, as they unveiled the monument dedicated to the late George M. Steinbrenner III.

The whole Yankees team walked out to center field, leading the Steinbrenner family and former Yankees players and staff into Monument Park. Joan Steinbrenner pulled the curtain covering the monument, and fans were stunned by how big it was. George would’ve liked it like that. His monument trumps all of the others in size, and stands in between Mantle and DiMaggio. According to Yankees PR, the monument is manufactured by US Bronze (Hyde Park, NY). It measures 7 ft. by 5 ft. high, not including the base. It weighs 760 lbs.

After everyone left the park, Mariano remained kneeling in front of the monument, paying tribute to The Boss.

Former New York Yankees pitcher David Wells, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, and Torre's wife Ali inspect baseball game

Members of New York Yankees attend unveiling of late team owner George Steinbrenner's monument

NEW YORK- SEPTEMBER 20: Mariano Rivera

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I realize that many of the readers of this blog weren’t alive on August 2, 1979. Many of you were much too young understand why a city wept on a hot August afternoon some 31 years ago. For those of us who were around and old enough to comprehend the tragedy of the day, it was seared into our memories like few other events. Quite frankly, other than 9/11, I can’t think of another event in my lifetime that at once defined New York to the rest of the country and caused the nation to cry with us. As Yankee fans, it is a day that should cause all of us to stop and reflect on things that are much bigger than baseball.

It is the day that Thurman Munson crashed his plane on a small airstrip in Akron, Ohio.

Munson’s legend has, with time, grown to immortal status. There is the empty locker, the plaque in Monument Park, the retired number 15 on the outfield wall. All of these are fine tributes to the man. But none of them can explain why Thurman is still such a beloved figure in Yankees lore. This is a team that has produced some of the game’s greatest players, after all. Why is it that Yankees fans continue to place him on a higher pedestal than Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle or even Babe Ruth? I think the answer to that, can be summed up in one game that occurred several years before that tragic crash.

It was a typical New York summer night in May 1976. Hot and humid, with the all the tension of the time (remember, this is the era when Gerald Ford told New York to “drop dead”). The South Bronx was well-known as “Fort Apache” and the atmosphere was rife with the expectation that at any time, a major riot would erupt. The only thing that could possibly raise the figurative temperature would be a visit from the hated (and defending AL champion) Red Sox. And so, of course, the Red Sox arrived that day to play a game that would go down in history.

The Sox were already reeling by that point in the season, while the Yanks were riding a six game win streak. But nobody could have foreseen what was about to happen when Lou Piniella barreled over Carlton Fisk at home. Piniella, upset that Fisk had tried to spike him, got up and slugged Fisk. The riot everyone in New York had been waiting for had erupted, but it was on the Yankee Stadium field, not on River Avenue. By the time the melee died down, Mickey Rivers had effectively ended Bill “Spaceman” Lee’s career and the “Bronx Zoo” era of Yankees baseball had been born. So, you ask, what does this have to do with Thurman?

Everything, as it turned out. Although the Yankees wound up losing the game, 8-2, Thurman demonstrated the type of class and fire required to be a Yankee captain. It was Munson who came to Graig Nettles defense when Lee charged him from the Red Sox dugout, after the initial fight had ended (Rivers showed up just in time to body slam Lee – as he was readying a roundhouse for the back of Munson’s head). Munson, appointed the first Yankee captain since the late Lou Gehrig by George Steinbrenner that Spring Training, was the one who restored order on that sultry summer evening. When all hell broke loose it was Munson who somehow managed to get his fellow teammates back into the dugout. And it was Munson who hung up his catching gear and went out to play right field (starting right fielder Otto Velez had been tossed), putting aside his personal rivalry with Fisk. There was no doubt after the game who the Yankees field and clubhouse leader was after the game. He wore number 15 and although the Superman cape was missing, everyone who watched that game swore there were red-and-blue tights under his torn Pinstripes. The following evening, Munson led the Yankees to a critical victory over the same Red Sox, a come from behind 6-5 win in 12 innings. He went two for six, driving in the first two Yankee runs with a booming double to Death Valley.

Thurman Munson is a Yankees legend, but he is much more than that. So if you see me shedding a few tears today, you’ll know why. When his plane skidded off the runway in 1979, the heart and soul of one of the great Yankee dynasties was what really went up in flames.

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Bill Lee is as classless as they get. Maybe he had a reason to dislike George Steinbrenner, but that statement he made was totally uncalled for. The guys on PTI spoke about it

He claims that he liked Steinbrenner, but said this: “We need to stop deifying this man. He never played first base. He was the owner of the Yankees, and he was a good guy, but that’s it.” To many Yankees fans, he was much more than a great owner. He changed the game of baseball forever, and brought the franchise back to life. Not only did he bring them to the forefront, but he built an empire out of it.

What does race have anything to do with Steinbrenner? I just don’t get it. Limbaugh’s Reasoning.

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...to the walls.

Steinbrenner covers his office in Yankee gear, from the floor...

Along with Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Steinbrenner and Torre celebrate the Yankees Subway World Series victory over the Mets with a ticker-tape parade and rally at City Hall. It was the sixth and final world title of Steinbrenner's tenure as owner.

George Steinbrenner is proud of another one of his creations, the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa. Formerly known as Legends Field, the stadium was renamed after "The Boss" in 2009.

Steinbrenner tries to keep his manager's mind off his cancer scare in 1999. Torre sits in George's box during a game against the Tigers in April 1999 at the Stadium.

"The Boss" meets the First Lady, presenting Hilary Clinton with a Yankees cap during the team's visit to the White House after winning the 1999 World Series.

He moves even closer to the players as they get ready for the World Series against the Mets. The Bombers have to take batting practice with "The Boss" looking over their shoulder.

Steinbrenner owns several horses, six of which run in the Kentucky Derby. Here, "The Boss" is with his entry in the 1997 Derby, Concerto.

) Yankee Team Owner George Steinbrenner Waves

"The Boss" is just as well-known as his players.

) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (L) Of New York City Shakes

The Steinbrenner-Torre marriage produces four World Series titles and 12-straight postseason appearances.

Obit Steinbrenner Baseball

The two then sing a tune with Jerry Lewis.

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Here are a bunch of videos of George Steinbrenner. I thought you guys might enjoy these.

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