First of all, before you read this, I must give you a quick disclaimer. I hate the New York Yankees. I do not like the team. I dislike most of the players. And I know that not all of them are alike, but I don’t like Yankees fans. Some of them are great, but they’re just like Phillies fans, Red Sox or Mets fans. You just remember the guy who puked on the 13-year-old.
There are figures in the world of sports that I generally dislike all around: Barry Bonds, Jerry Jones, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Favre, LeBron James. But then there are players I do not like that I respect: Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, Cody Ross (yeah, that one’s personal), Tom Brady. One name stands out to me in that category of people I respect-George Steinbrenner.
Why he belongs:
Let’s look at the numbers of championships by Yankees owners.
Jacob Ruppert 8
Jacob Ruppert Estate 2
Larry MacPhail, Dan Topping and Del Webb 1
Dan Topping and Del Webb 9
That’s good enough to put him #3 on the all-time list for most championships by owner. Only two franchises have more than Steinbrenner: The Cardinals and Athletics. Are you ready for the dagger to really go into your heart? He has as many championships as the Boston Red Sox do since 1903. That’s more than the Giants, Dodgers, Pirates, Reds, etc.
Steinbrenner exuded excellence. He was willing to win at any cost. While he had some moments where he got in his own way, Steinbrenner was a cultural icon. George Costanza worked for Steinbrenner on Seinfeld. Ask a person to name an owner of a professional sports team. I can name a few off the top pf my head: Robert Kraft (Patriots), “Mr. Plastic” Jerry Jones (Cowboys), Al Davis (Raiders), Jeffrey Lurie (Eagles; I know that one because the Eagles are my team), Bill Snyder (Redskins), the joke that is Tom Hicks (Stars), Jerry Buss (Lakers), the Ricketts family (Cubs), Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan (Rangers), Mark Cuban (Mavericks). And I dare say I know more than the average sports fan.
Ask somebody to name a professional sports owner and more than likely, you’re going to hear them say George Steinbrenner. He was “The Boss.”
Why he doesn’t belong:
Baseball does not have a Hall-of-Fame if George Steinbrenner (and Roberto Alomar & Bert Blyleven) are not a part of it.
So hopefully, the Hall-of-Fame comes calling for The Boss for the Class of ’11.