When the news came out that he died Tuesday at age 80, it was the end of an era that baseball-lovin’ boomers will always remember. Who can forget the feuds with other team owners and baseball commissioners, his wrath directed at stadium employees, and the caustic comments he sometimes made about his own players.
Even those who don’t pay any attention to baseball have to remember the roller coaster relationship Steinbrenner had with his equally volatile manager, Billy Martin. He fired and rehired Martin so many times that it became a national joke – and a beer commercial:
Steinbrenner took over running the Yankees in 1973 (we’d have guessed earlier than that) when the team was in decline and hadn’t won a pennant since 1964. Today’s obit in the NY Times mentioned that Steinbrenner originally claimed he wasn’t going to be a hands-on team owner:
When he arrived in New York on Jan. 3, 1973, he said he would not “be active in the day-to-day operations of the club at all.” Having made his money as head of the American Shipbuilding Company, based in Cleveland, he declared, “I’ll stick to building ships.”
Well boomers, we all know how well that worked out, don’t we?
RIP Boss – and God help St. Peter if he does anything to delay George getting through Heaven’s turnstile. “You’re fired!”