King George

A disclaimer: This is meaningless. In the grand scheme of the world, who cares? Really, who cares.

That said, what the hell were the Yankees thinking when they polluted sacred Monument Park with a 7-feet-wide and 5-feet-high plaque to George Steinbrenner that dwarfs everything else within sight? Bigger than Babe Ruth? Bigger than Lou Gehrig? Bigger than Joltin’ Joe and the Mick?


Makes no sense. None whatsoever. Steinbrenner was obviously a transformative owner. But he wasn’t always a great owner. Remember the 1980s? Spying on Dave Winfield? Being banned from the game? Hiring and firing managers with reckless will? Remember King George all but driving Billy Martin to the bottle? Remember him firing Yogi Berra after a coiple of games?

Does he deserve to be recognized? Of course. But this is just downright offensive. I looked on Baseball Reference. The name George Steinbrenner doesn’t appear (as a player). Not one hit, one win, one RBI, one strikeout. Nothing. He was a man in a suit who happened to be blessed with great fortune.


20 thoughts on “King George”

  1. Well put Jeff, watched the 30 for 30 last night on Steinbrenner, very strange viewing. While his fortune brought many championships to the Bronx, ordinary people were praising and revering him like he was a saint. Neglecting to mention the outrageous cost of tickets, merchandise and $10.50 for a 16 ounce beer. Also the monument is way too big, but hey gotta love New York

  2. Um, yeah, the ballpark would be there without George. The Yankees played for a century before Steinbrenner showed up, so somehow I think people would have continued to play baseball without him. Just as they will now.

  3. In fairness to the Steinbrenner’s, they didn’t know Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig, but George Steinbrenner was their father, so it’s understandable they’d make the plaque bigger than a bunch of dead strangers that built an empire George did his very best to derail.

    If he weren’t banned from the game, Gene Michael & company never get it together in the 90’s & build the dynasty for which he is not retroactively given credit.

  4. When George died, his past misdeeds died, too. Remember when Michael Jackson died? No one brought up all his weirdness or the “alleged” pedophilia. No Michel transformed dance, transcended the medium, etc. Same with King George.

  5. Steve702, you are correct that this a family decision. The Steinbrenner’s own the Yankees, and George was their father. I’d put up a big plaque for my Dad, too. Anyone questioning that isn’t exactly too rational.

    As for the other part of your statement, well, I used to say the same things. Anything that was good had nothing to do with George and somehow slipped by him; anything bad was all George. Then one day I realized, after working in business for few decades, that people are success for very specific reasons. George Steinbrenner didn’t just somehow stumble his way into buying the Yankees, where he personally only put in $168,000 of his money, turning that into a baseball empire worth somewhere north of $5 billion, and ultimately listing George as one of 400 richest Americans, according to Forbes. No, people aren’t that lucky. Luck is part of it, but you have be dedicated and you have to be good.

    The Yankees were a moribund team when he took them over. He hardly derailed them. He made them great again, turning them into the winningest team in the game during his tenure, producing 19 playoff appearances, 16 AL Eastern Titles, 11 American League Pennants, and 7 World Championships. He did stupid things, yet they were far, far, far, outweighed by all the things he did right. I don’t know how old you are, but New York used to be an NL town. There’s a team across town, an NL team, that had the same advantages as the Yankees. Somehow they never figured it out. Yet people will say that’s not their fault. Those same people will say that the success of the “derailed” Yankees has nothing to do with George. You do realize he was still running the teams when he was suspended. Decisions were still being put through him, no matter what the Commissioner’s office told the public. He also hired the people that ran the team, and created the culture of winning. People would say they could feel when Steinbrenner was in the building. They always had to be on the game, prepared to answer any question. People like Buck Showalter were a product of that culture. I’ve worked in cultures like that on the business side, and while it’s very difficult, it does produce a better company and product.

    Most of the thinking and reporting on Steinbrenner is one-dimensional. It would be as if Steve Jobs wouldn’t get credit for turning Apple around because he’s a jerk (he is, and much bigger than Steinbrenner), and for being unrelenting, or always expecting perfection, or for reinvesting his money and hiring the right people and making more right decisions than wrong. In the business world people like Jobs are honored. For some odd reason, in the sports world people try to find excuses to not give credit where credit is due to people like Steinbrenner.

    Was Steinbrenner a jerk? Yes. Was he the best owner in the game? Yes. He not only lifted the Yankees back to the top, he had a profound impact on the entire game. He towered above everyone else. One could not write the history of baseball without focusing large sections on Steinbrenner.

  6. @Ed
    Yankees played baseball for a century before Steinbrenner showed up & they still would be playing without him, so that means
    the new ballpark would be there? I got to say that’s pretty f**king stupid reasoning.

  7. Unfortunately, men in suits with loads of money run most everything in the world, and constantly rewrite history to their liking.

    Once again, I’m glad you are pointing it out!!!

  8. @Glenn, how does the b-r website you shared show Steinbrenner as a player? Jeff wrote “I looked on Baseball Reference. The name George Steinbrenner doesn’t appear (as a player). Not one hit, one win, one RBI, one strikeout. Nothing. He was a man in a suit who happened to be blessed with great fortune.”

    Then, you shared his b-r page that explains that Steinbrenner was just an owner.

    If it weren’t for Steinbrenner, they’d still have a new ballpark – or better yet, a rehabbed old Yankee Stadium. The Mets have a new Stadium and their owner Sucks.

    The Cubs, Dodgers, and Red Sox don’t need new stadiums because they aren’t toilets like the old stadium in the Bronx was. They were/are being rehabbed to last for at least another generation or two.

    Why are you so proud of a new stadium? Who cares if they have a new stadium?

    The point is that the Yankees are sweeping all of George’s sins under the rug, and Yankee fans, of course, get defensive whenever someone brings it up.

  9. Sure, the Yankees may have a new stadium without Steinbrenner. But, it wouldn’t be as nice as the $1.6Billion stadium they have now.

    Also, you’re doing just as bad. George gave lots of money to charity. You’re “sweeping that under the rug”.

  10. Steinbrenner is the classic example of a guy waking up on third and thinking that he hit a triple.

    RobMer’s post is laughable in his attempt to portray Steinbrenner as a by-the-bootstraps type of guy. He inherited his money from the man he hated the most, his daddy. And make no mistake about it, the only place where you’ll find someone more daddy issues is your local strip club.

    George Steinbrenner was one of sports biggest assholes when he was alive and now that he’s dead nothing has changed. It disgusts me the way people like Peter Gammons lionized him when he died after years of ripping him, making fun of him (he coined the name Phineas T. Bluster and it wasn’t meant to be complimentary) and pushing aside his transgressions as if they weren’t a big deal.

    The guy was a convicted fellon and was banned from baseball twice. The only reason the Yankees are where they are is because of his second suspension. An egomaniac like no other, Steinbrenner was under the impression that people came to Yankee Stadium to see HIM. Wrong, people came to Yankee Stadium in spite of him.

    That plaque is the perfect embodiment of George Steinbrenner, he thinks that he’s bigger than the game but real fans know differently.

  11. The monument is a perversion of baseball, and therefore, perfectly representative of Steinbrenner.

    What’s so great about the new Yankee Stadium? I can’t even think about the public funding and assorted evils behind the construction.

  12. George drove Billy into the bottle? With 25 years into my own recovery, I can say with relative certainty that Billy’s boozing was well established before Steinbrenner even owned the Yankees. He was the angriest man of his era, and it would appear alcohol allowed him to release it, often in a very inappropriate manner. His “manly” sucker punch of Cubs pitcher Jim Brewer in 1960 (resulting in broken jaw and lawsuit) was the worst thing I’ve seen on a ballfield. Billy was a mean drunk. George was one of his many enablers. Billy’s death in a drunken car wreck was sad, but almost inevitable. Let’s not lay George’s behavior as the cause of Martin’s drinking. Billy has choices and choices have consequences.

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