Steinbrenner changed baseball (for better or worse)

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.

4 Responses to “Steinbrenner changed baseball (for better or worse)”

  1. I think eleven World Series teams and seven rings. Is that correct?

    Hall of Fame? Not in my book. He WAS thrown out of baseball. Twice, right? For criminality concerning Nixon Campaign Donations. And there was the incident of hiring a Mob Member to find dirt on Mister May (Dave Winfield). I would not vote for him.

    But I wish The Boss owned a team that I root for.

    Easy to spend when your team is in New York and has huge TV revenue. But I have been convinced for years that he would have spent the same money if he owned the Brewers. He would have spend it out of his own pocket. He wanted to win that badly.

    He hated to lose so much that he was a sourpuss about it. Ask Billy. Or Reggie. Or Sparky Lyle. Or Mister May, who went 1-for-22 in a losing World Series. Or ask a number of others.

    And another thing: In a country that believes in capitalism and free enterprise, who is anyone else to say that The Boss doesn’t have the right to spend as much money as he wants to improve his business. Two sides to that, I know.

    They say he hasn’t been involved in running the Yankees for a few years (5?). I don’t believe it for a minute. I am convinced that when the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs in 2008, he slammed his fist on the table and said, “This is NEVER happening again.” And he backed up his words with signings of CC and EI-EI-A. And won the World Series. His “last hurrah,” as it turns out.

    So now he is gone.

    In a world of corporate ownership and tax writeoffs. he stood out. A giant among sports-world men. The most competitive owner of our time, in any sport. I think that Ted Turner and Al Davis were in his ballpark. Bad pun, I know.

    I find nothing to celebrate about this.

    DonS.

  2. Re Winfield… I have to give him credit. He forgave GMS for all that (after he apologized).

    Winfield was interviewed ad nauseum the day Steinbrenner died. No doubt the media wanted to play that angle but he wouldnt have any of it.

    I’m on the fence re the HOF and Steinbrenner. I agree with all of your justifications, DonS, but Comiskey is in the Hall and he was no saint either.

  3. another point raised in a talk show i listen to:

    Would Steinbrenner been near as successful in a town other than New York or with a team other than the Yankees?

    What if he had ended up buying the Cleveland Indians (which apparently he was close to doing)?

  4. He spent billions to put out a quality product — the epitome of quality not only in its market but the by-word for quality in any market. He made his mistakes, but he never wavered in his dedication to giving the customer everything the customer could want.

    A business model that made him billions.

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