March 25, 2017

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner remembered

By Roger Friedman

HollywoodNews.com: It’s hard to believe, because he was such an omnipotent figure in Yankee life, but George Steinbrenner is dead at age 80.

The obits and comments today will be something to read, and lengthy at that. No baseball owner was ever this controversial, whether he was hiring people to spy on his players or having public fights with popular managers. In his heyday he was loud, nasty, and frustrating.

But in a way what would we have done without him? When Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, they were dead. CBS and Mike Burke had killer them. It was the era of mediocre players with few exceptions: Mel Stottlemeyer, Bobby Murcer, a just arrived Thurman Munson, and dependable Roy White. Ralph Houk was the staid manager.

Steinbrenner changed all that. He ushered in Billy Martin, Dave Winfield, and Reggie Jackson, and a determination to win at all costs. Literally, all costs. But let’s not forget: before Steinbrenner came in and really got going, the Yankees were better known for Fritz Petersen and Mike Kekick swapping wives than the team winning pennants.

Most of the stories about Steinbrenner are well known–hiring and firing 20 managers, etc. He certainly made the blood pressure of Yankee fans rise and rise and rise. A terrible fight with Yogi Berra that went on for two decades will not be forgotten.The constant war with Billy Martin. And we can’t forget his two suspensions from baseball–in 1974, over campaign contributions to Richard Nixon, and in 1990, for hiring Howie Spira to get dirt–not ballfield dust–on Winfield.

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To read more go to Showbiz411.com.

About Roger Friedman

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411.com column in April after 10 years with Fox News where he helped create Foxnews.com. Friedman’s prior experience on the Internet is with MSN’s Cinemania column. Friedman also wrote the Intelligencer column as a contributing editor at "New York Magazine," where he covered the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. In addition, Friedman has been involved in book publishing and filmmaking (Only the Strong Survive). For more about Roger go to Showbiz411.com

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