Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died on July 13. He drove some of the major changes in sports over the last four decades. He meddled with his team's chemistry, bringing in high-priced players and calling out stars in the press. His Yankees teams won 7 titles between 1973 and 2010, which is remarkable by almost any standard except the one Steinbrenner demanded. Sports franchise owners like Mark Cuban (NBA), Dan Snyder (NFL), and Jerry Jones (NFL) are in the same mold. The following are my favorite seven Steinbrenner factoids.
1. Infamously, he fired and hired Billy Martin five times separate times.
2. In 1990, Steinbrenner was banned "for life" from major league baseball by former Commissioner Fay Vincent. The penalty was levied because Steinbrenner had paid almost $50,000 for "dirt" on a former player. The "life" banishment lasted three years.
3. Steinbrenner's first franchise, the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League, lasted a single season, as did the entire league.
4. While an assistant coach under Woody Hayes at Ohio State, Steinbrenner won a national championship.
5. After buying the Yankees franchise in 1973, for only $8.8 million, Steinbrenner instituted a policy regulating the length of player's hair. All-Star players like Don Mattingly and David Wells have received fines or even suspensions for "hair offenses."
6. Actors that have played Steinbrenner include Larry David (on "Seinfeld") and Oliver Platt ("Bronx is Burning").
I liked George's personality although I think he was a little crazy, but I'm glad money can't keep one alive forever. While I wouldn't mind seeing George live on a while longer, there are so many more people I clearly wish to go on time or before. Dave Windfield was my favorite baseball player for years, and George's illegal efforts to harm Windfield didn't succeed in making me dislike George.