Truly a rough week for the Yankee faithful. In the last three days, two iconic figures who represented the Bronx Bombers in two very different ways, passed away
On Sunday, PA announcer Bob Sheppard passed on at the ripe age of 99. His time with the Yankees goes back to the days of DiMaggio and Mantle. His voice was long lived. It could be heard as late as 2007.
Then today the Boss was finally dragged kicking and screaming from this dimension into the next life. George Steinbrenner, the shipbuilder turned baseball team owner who swore he would not get involved in his team’s business died at the age of 80.
Steinbrenner was controversial, aggressive, intrusive and yes, sometimes mean. But he won, too. Under his ownership, the Yankees won eleven championships and seven World Series.
A friend posed this question to a few of us over email: “Which had more effect on player salaries, George Steinbrenner or Curt Flood’s free agency case?”
Truly an academic question which has no real answer. But it does give one pause to think. Other owners were skeptical of free agency, not wanting to shell out the big bucks for players. Meanwhile, Steinbrenner, who inherited a sub-par Yankee team in the early 70s, wasn’t afraid to adapt his business model to include the concept of Flood’s idea of free agency. With the acquisition of Catfish Hunter and so many others, Steinbrenner changed the way, for better or for worse, how baseball owners approach acquiring on-the-field personnel.
The results,in Steinbrenner’s case, speak for themselves.