RIP, George

Not a good way to wake up this morning here in California. I turned on the computer and news of Steinbrenner’s death was the first thing I saw. I emitted a sound like this: “Whaaaaaa?” Sure, he’d been ill, but a heart attack at 80? Didn’t expect that. No matter what I thought of George over the years (my opinion wavered, depending on his hirings and firings and outbursts), he built the Yankees into the powerhouse they became after the pathetic CBS years. But he was also a fan, just like us, screaming at the TV when something went wrong. He will always loom large in the world of sports and there will never be another like him. First the Voice of God. Now the Boss. I don’t even want to contemplate who’s next.



    It was fun to digress on the Derby, but not as much fun to look back on A Life like George’s. Because…how do you do it justice? And for all that we saw, and heard, and loved or hated about the man…we didn’t even KNOW him until he had already lived a lifetime in Cleveland, building a very different empire…like when you get married, and your whole life changes and is so different, maybe way better, maybe not, but you really DID have another life before. You know what I mean…
    Can’t be adequately eloquent on this. It is a hard time for we fans, losing two icons in the same week, even if they were a combined age of 179. Whatta Lotta Life. Let’s just please hope that that’s quite enough for now…so many memories, and thank-yous for all of them, bitter and sweet…

  2. ooaooa

    Sadly I don’t have the tickets for Friday night or Saturday but I will tell you about the time I exchanged words with “The Boss”. The first year I went to spring training I was standing in the first row just past 1st base during practice when George came walking down the gravel track. I remember saying to him “George I think you are the best businessman in this country, I truly admire you, will you please sign a ball for me?” He looked at me and said “You don’t want my autograph, get some of those millionaires out there to sign, they are more important than me.” To me just having him answer my words to him was as good as a signed ball. I have never forgotten that exchange and and never will and today it means even more to me. As Joe D said and I expand, “I Want to Thank the Good Lord for Making Me a Yankee — FAN”.


    Who’s next? That’s the question I wondered. Old Timer’s day is gonna be hard to watch. The emptiness it feels without Bobby Murcer, but now Sheppard and The Boss gone? I was lucky to first become a fan in 1995, to see the team rejuvenated and go on to win those four World Series Championships and now the latest one. My only Steinbrenner story is sitting in class during the World Series last year and defending Steinbrenner. The teacher was saying he was terrible for baseball, and maybe he was, I missed that part of his life. But he did more to help then hurt I think. He makes everyone better, makes everyone want to win harder. Makes everyone else have to catch up. After the strike in ’94, baseball was pretty unpopular, but the Yankee dynasty in the late 90s brought it back bigger than it ever was. All because of him. I’m glad he was able to see one more Championship too, but all the future ones will have a little of the Boss in them too.


    This has been a sad week for the Yankees and their fans. My husband and I had seen Mr S at a spring training game in March. He drew quite a bit of attention from the crowd when he left his private box to come and sit in the stands. Everyone was taking his picture and shouting out words of support. Even though I knew his health was failing I told my husband that I thought he looked pretty good. He was talking to fans, smiling and, as always, focusing on the game. My opinion of him has wavered over the years, as well. But he loved the team and he loved to win. I’ve heard that there will be a tribute to Bob Sheppard and now possibly a moment of silence or some other kind of tribute during tonight’s game for The Boss. R.I.P, George



    My memory of The Boss — my husband, daughter and I went to Spring Training, I believe in 2003 — first and only time. After a game, we saw a big crowd in the stands and took a walk over, to see Mr. Steinbrenner sitting there signing autographs. He said, “Listen, I’ll stay here as long as it takes to see every one of you, but I only ask that you please let the children come up first.” — How sweet. Anyway, I got up there and handed him a diary that my daughter had been keeping about this trip. Since he was mostly signing baseballs and programs he looked oddly at the book and then at me. I explained what the book was all about and he asked for her name…he personalized the autograph to her. Children were always his first priority. During that same Spring Training week, I was speaking with someone from that area that said Mr. Steinbrenner had giving their school something like $100,000. because their baseball field had been destroyed by some sort of criminal event. She said, “You can say that $100,000. is a drop in the bucket to someone like George Steinbrenner but he didn’t have to do that – he also asked us not to make a big deal of it.” — So he didn’t take any benefit from the press which you would think he’d like to have had. Anyway, he was a special person and he will be missed. Old Timers’ Day really is going to be crazy…and the boys in pinstripes had better win the W.S. this year for sure. GO YANKEES!!!

  6. Jane Heller

    So many memories, Dave. Some great. Some not so great. But in total such a huge figure in sports. And yeah, losing two icons in the same week? What are the odds?

    I’m sure there are lots of younger fans who don’t remember the long and colorful history of Steinbrenner, Brian. Thankfully, there are wonderful books and articles about the era to fill in the gaps.

    Melissa, you must have been at spring training when I was there with my husband in March. I remember that Steinbrenner was at one of the games. Too bad we didn’t connect. Anyhow, yes, he made lots of people crazy over the years, but he did love the team and he brought us so much pleasure through all the great players we’ve watched. Looking forward to tonight’s tribute.

  7. raysrenegade

    I was so sadden by the announcement today ofthe passing of “The Boss”. If there was such a thing as baseball royalty, he was truly the king of this sport. His devotion to his two communities of Tampa and New York City knew no bounds in his generosity and determination to make both of communities strive for a level of excellence.
    I sudder to think of what might have happened if Steinbrenner had not taken the Yankees reigns or helped in the Tampa Bay pursuit of a team.
    My community owes a great debt to Steinbrenner, and hopefully the ex-Yankees and freinds of Steinbrenner who preceeded him are waiting at the gates in pinstriped wings today.

    Rays Renegade

  8. James Buxton

    I’ll miss him; he is the definition of what an owner, a real one, should be. As well as Melissa and you Jane, mi opinion of him waved, but I always admired his determination, his power of decision (not always good ones, but he stood for them), and above all, his love to the game and our beloved Yankees. Let’s hope nobody as big as him or the Great and elegant Bob will follow. I cried when I read the news of Bob, now I’m felling empty because I’ll never have the opportunity of hearing him in a game (except for his call of The Captain). Requiescat in pace George and Bob, I’ll make sure nobody of my friends and family forget both of you.



    It’s nice to read in Brian’s comments that there are younger fans, who ONLY know the good George. Like you and Melissa, I’ve definitely wavered in my opinion of George over the years. I remember walking from the parking lot to the stadium and agreeing with fans who were carrying signs saying, “George must go.” On the other hand, we’ve seen him deliver championships to the Bronx and his philanthropic and charitable side as well as his willingness to stick with troubled former players and his genuine desire to mend fences with great Yankees like Yogi and Dave Winfield.

    Today, we’ll remember the good George and in the final analysis I’m with Brian. There seems to have been more good than bad.

  10. scofid

    This has been a tough week so say the least. Leave it to George to pass when the Yankees aren’t playing so that he doesn’t disrupt the games. I say that kiddingly, but of course, George always put the Yankees first. We definitely need to cherish the time we have left with Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and other senior Yankee veterans. Let’s hope that none will leave anytime soon.

  11. theheirloom

    To be honest, Jane, I may not have liked the man – but I respected everything George did with the Yankees from the way he turned it around after the purchase from CBS to the organization we know of today. George was one of toughest competitors in the game – as an owner. He will be remembered that way.

  12. peggy3

    I met Mr. Steinbrenner when I worked at MSG in the 70’s and he came up to visit Michael Burke who was the former president of the Yankees and at that time president of the Knicks & Rangers. I sat right outside of Mr. Burke’s office. Mr. Steinbrenner loved that I was such a big Yankee fan and he gave me tickets to the game (he must have carried them around with him …he had them in his pocket The Yanks were playing at Shea at the time due to the renovations on the original Stadium. The seats were right next to the Yankee dugout in front of the on deck circle. Mr. Steinbrenner was there when we arrived but only stayed a short time. When he left he instructed the vendors to give us anything we wanted during the game. It was certainly a thrill sharing the few innings with Mr. Steinbrenner and he couldn’t have been nicer.

    That’s my George memory and it was a good one. I was fortunate working at the Garden at that time because Mr. Burke would give me the Garden seats when they weren’t being used. The Garden seats at the Stadium were the first row directly behind the word York on the dugout. Those were the days …now I sit in the upper level

    I have great memories from the 9 years I worked at MSG but the best were the Yankee seats and meeting Paul

    Go Yankees 2010 !!


    So so many memories of The Man, and no, I never came remotely close to meeting him (or even SEEING him — Diane and Peggy and all of y’all who did — you Lucky Dogs!!)…
    What to do? Well, you younger fans out there, let me add a little dose of humor to the tribute…back in the day, when Lite Beer was making its name with a host of funny TV ads featuring retired jocks (or other non-players)…there were a series of commercials starring George with Billy Martin. Now, as most of you know, Billy was the Yankee mgr. many times — got hired and fired at least 4 times, right? — the ’80s were crazy — and Lite Beer took full advantage of the craziness. In one commercial, Billy made a wisecrack about George, and so of course they have George saying” “Billy — you’re fired.” And Billy’s retort was: “Not Again!” Well, this was cute & fun — but then, when he’d get rehired, do you remember what they did? They reran the commercial, but this time, dubbed in George’s voice to say, “Billy — you’re HIRED.” Quoth the Martin: “Not AGAIN!!” Ahh, maybe you had ta be there…awaay I go, rumblin’ and mumblin’ and stumblin’…

  14. Jane Heller

    I don’t even want to think of who’s next, seindsfeld. We still have treasures in pinstripes and I’d hate it if anything happened to them too, although it’s inevitable. Yes, you were too young to be around during Steinbrenner’s “bad boy” years, but as I wrote to Brian there are very good accounts of his life in its totality. So glad he got to see the team win last year.

    It won’t be the same without him, James. There have been times over the last couple of years when I’ve said, “What would George do in this situation?” He did love winning and he won’t be forgotten, not to worry.

    I remember those “George must go” signs, jojovanb. There was such a tidal wave of hostility toward him in those days. But if Yogi and Winfield could make up with him, so could the fans – and we did. In the end, he was more of a beloved figure than a villain.

    Mike Lupica had a different take, Scott. He said, “Leave it to George to make headlines during the All Star Game.” Sigh. Anyhow, George did put the Yankees first – always – and for that I’ll always be grateful. I’d like to put Yogi and Whitey in bubble wrap right now!

    A lot of people didn’t like Steinbrenner, Randy. And for good reason. But we Yankee fans appreciated how he poured money into the team as opposed to regarding the franchise as a “unit” in some conglomerate. A very tough competitor indeed.

    What a great story, Peggy. No wonder you loved that job! Free tickets AND meeting The Boss and Paul McCartney? I bet the only thing missing was getting to meet Mickey, right?

  15. Jane Heller

    Oops, just saw your comment, John. Sorry it slipped past me. I LOVE that story! LOL. It’s so….George. I can just hear him calling them “those millionaires” with a mix of admiration and disdain. Thanks for sharing.

  16. raysrenegade

    I was so sadden by the announcement today ofthe passing of “The Boss”. If there was such a thing as baseball royalty, he was truly the king of this sport. His devotion to his two communities of Tampa and New York City knew no bounds in his generosity and determination to make both of communities strive for a level of excellence.
    I sudder to think of what might have happened if Steinbrenner had not taken the Yankees reigns or helped in the Tampa Bay pursuit of a team.
    My community owes a great debt to Steinbrenner, and hopefully the ex-Yankees and freinds of Steinbrenner who preceeded him are waiting at the gates in pinstriped wings today.

    Rays Renegade

  17. Jane Heller

    What is going on with this blog today? Your comment slipped through too, Diane. Sorry. What a great story! And how nice that Steinbrenner signed your daughter’s diary and that he donated money and didn’t want a fuss made over it. No question he had many positive qualities and was fascinating in his complexity. Old Timers Day will have a very bittersweet tone this year.

    Yup, two blows in the same week, A.J. Very sad.

  18. Jane Heller

    I shudder to think too, Renegade. The Yankees were a moribund franchise until Steinbrenner bought it. So instead of being perennial contenders, they could easily have been in the cellar all these years. (More shuddering.) I know he did a lot for Tampa too, and I saw him in his box at the Trop in 2007.

    Good reminder, Dave. For those who’ve never seen the Bud Light commercials with George and Billy, they’re up on YouTube, along with the Jeter one for Visa (I think it was Visa).


    I found The Boss’s macho blustering very annoying when I was younger, but perhaps as I’ve gotten older I’ve mellowed because now I think it was pretty funny.

    Mark Teixiera made a comment after they won the World Series that really changed my opinion on free agents and also on George. He said something about how great it was to play for a team where even the top level of ownership wants to win as badly as the players. I hadn’t even considered that an owner wouldn’t!

    And I had the same thought as Lupica – leave it to Steinbrenner to make sure he died on a day that the whole baseball community can focus on him at once.


  20. Jane Heller

    I used to want to strangle Steinbrenner, Melissa. But when we look at other owners and how their fans often complain about not being able to get better players, it makes me so grateful for him. As Tex said, he wanted to win as much as his players did and would do whatever it took to get there. Sometimes he made terrible choices, but what a success he made of the team. And what a visionary he was about having a TV network to broadcast the games.

  21. Jane Heller

    Lots of fans have Steinbrenner stories today, Gary. The Boss definitely generated his share. Will check out your blog for more.

  22. beckers46

    I flew out to visit my sister in Las Vegas today. Of course I traveled decked out in Yankees gear in honor of the All-Star Game. When we cleared the air space in Atlanta, I turned on the TV in front of me to discover that Mr. Steinbrenner had passed away. First Bob, and now Joe. I was in shock. I even blurted out, GEORGE STEINBRENNER PASSED AWAY. Passengers around me also tuned in. We all watched and mourned together. Growing up, my mom always talked about George’s feud with Billy Martin. I always remember him standing in his owner’s box wearing a cream turtle neck and a navy blazer. I loved hearing all these great stories about him on ESPN today. About how he was tough, but was so generous to so many people. This is such a sad week for Yankees Universe. My thoughts are with the team and the Steinbrenner family.

  23. Jane Heller

    It must have been so shocking to read about Steinbrenner on the plane, Becky. I’m glad you had other passengers to commiserate with. Yes, he feuded with Martin and others. The stories were crazy, but he also had a soft side, as so many have mentioned.

  24. YankeeCase

    NYC weeped today, Jane. (erm, yesterday…) Literally.

    Lost on everyone who doesn’t live in the NYC area was the fact that it was one of the darkest, dreariest, nastiest days I’ve seen here in a long while. The city cried mournful tears. It wasn’t some torrential downpour, just a lot dark skies and plenty of drizzle. A sad day here and all over the sports world. But it was great to see the outpouring of love people had for this guy. New Yorkers have had a love/hate relationship with him since he bought the Yankees, and it’s great that he only cared about winning and not his reputation or how he was perceived. In this age of “me too” publicity, and everyone trying to show they ‘care’ by throwing money at charities, all these stories are coming out how he helped schools in his communities, helped kids pay for college, and on and on. None of these stories were ever heard by anyone until he died, and it was because he wanted it that way. He didn’t want attention for those good deeds. That really shows something about who he was. A character with character. He’ll be missed, more so than anyone thought.

  25. Amy

    My condolences Yankees fans for your recent losses. As I’m saying in my blog, I really wished he had bought the Indians in the 70s instead of the Yankees (as he was a Cleveland native son).

    I just hope the Baseball Grim Reaper stays away from Mr. Bob Feller.


  26. Jane Heller

    Ah, I didn’t know the weather was crying too yesterday, YankeeCase. Seems fitting, doesn’t it? I’ve really been enjoying all the stories from people – famous and not-famous – who recalled their encounters with Steinbrenner. The New York Times is full of wonderful reminiscences today, for example.

    He did set high standards, Mike – both in terms of the team and in running a successful business. Nobody like him in sports.

    Thanks, Amy. He could very well have been the owner of the Indians. How different life would have been, right?

    No doubt, Paul. No doubt.

  27. angelsgirl012

    His death came as a shock to me and I’m sure to others as well. My condolences to his family and the Yankees organization. Losing both Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner must be heartbreaking. Mr Steinbrenner no doubt made a huge impact not just on the Yankees but baseball in general. May he rest i peace

  28. Jane Heller

    It was a big shock to me too, Mimi. I woke up here in CA and the news was everywhere. Just didn’t expect it.

  29. bklyntrolleyblogger

    “Screaming at the TV like a fan” ~ A Jane original and so far only “heard” here.. Well Done. He has my respect for many reasons and draws my ire for others. But we’re all better to have had him….as painfull as it may have been at times. I for one am very sorry we lost him.

  30. Jane Heller

    Nice blog post over at the trolley, Mike. You’re right – George did stay in the Bronx even when things were dicey there and the pressure was on to move the team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s