Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Remembering George Steinbrenner
Sad news from the baseball world today as Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away at age 80 this morning after suffering a massive heart attack.
Flat out, Steinbrenner was THE owner a fan wanted to have for his team. An unyielding desire to do anything to get his team to win it all. That's what the Yankees were about. After putting just under $200,000 of his own money to buy the team from CBS back in 1973, Steinbrenner's team went on to win seven World Championships, 16 Division Titles and 11 American League Pennants.
And boy did the fans come to see them play. From a team that had just under a million fans at the ballpark in 1973, NY now plays in front of over 4 million fans a year these days. Plus, that's only the fans in NY, never mind the fans in the seats around the bigs in parks that would otherwise be empty if not for the Yankees (or Red Sox) coming to town.
He's also responsible for so many funny moments on "Seinfeld" as well.
George Steinbrenner was bigger than just the game, he became an American icon.
Yet, beyond all this, I'll remember George for this: my one and only live meeting with The Boss. It was October 18, 1999 and George's Yankees had just dispatched of my Red Sox from the ALCS in five games with a 6-1 thrashing.
Most of the celebration was done, but there was George, on the top step of the Yankees dugout taking our questions. Every last one of them. All I could think was that I was in the presence of The Boss. Very awe inspiring and daunting indeed for this guy, who was then working for Sportsradio the Score in Providence.
To this day, it's still one of my favorite moments in sports. Not for the game that went down, but the person, the legend, the icon that was standing in front of us. For many media people around the country, this was just commonplace, another chat with The Boss. But for me, it was a legend in time.
So now, the game has lost its icon of ownership. A sure Hall of Famer in the making who made the Yankees relevant again not only in NY, but around the World. George Steinbrenner set the standard.
Rest in peace George! The game will miss you!