When the Boss bought the Yanks

Prior to a game one loss, Torre 'satisfied' with playoff berth
Smear campaigns in Massachusetts

Here’s a fun little blast from the past: The Daily News has digitally reprinted its 1973 article about the sale of the Yankees. George Steinbrenner purchased the team for a whopping $10 million. Talk about return on investment.

Prior to a game one loss, Torre 'satisfied' with playoff berth
Smear campaigns in Massachusetts
  • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

    What is the criterion for an owner to be inducted into the Hall of Fame?

  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I’ve got to say… and I don’t mean this as a swipe at Jamal or any of the other commenters who may be a bit younger… I think age/generation has a ton to do with how you view George Steinbrenner and historical significance. I give George the credit due to him for investing money in the team and having the will to win. But, honestly, those are things I expect out of the Yankees’ owner. I actually think the Yankees have, in a lot of ways, been successful in spite of George Steinbrenner. The Yankees were a depressing wasteland of an organization in the late 80s. In fact, even during the years in the 80s when they were a competitive team, the organization was a mess. Those were the days of the depressing “Columbus Shuttle” and so many managerial hiring/firing hijinx that the Yankees were seen as a joke in a lot of corners. When Steinbrenner was suspended in the early 90s, I remember that moment/time being the first really exciting time I’d experienced as a Yankees fan (and this is even before the organization turned around, there was excitement about Steinbrenner simply being out of the picture). The Yankees of the 90s were built with Steinbrenner out of the picture, and when he asserted more control at the end of that dynasty, the Yankees reverted to a lot of their old ways. The man clearly invested a lot of money in the team and has unparalleled passion for the Yankees and the success of the franchise… But I’m one Yankees fan who is very happy he’s out of the picture and who is hopeful Hal Steinbrenner will be the man in charge moving forward (with Hank going back to the stables).

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos


      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        OK ok so, without George, Seinfeld would have had one fewer awesome character. He did give us that.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Mr. Steinbrenner is here, George is dead, call me back!

    • Ed

      I’ll agree with you on that. My first season following the Yankees was the last time they finished in last place. The vibe really seemed to change when George got suspended, leaving Gene Michael to run the team on his own. George got reinstated right when they became good again, so he left the team alone until they lost to the Diamondbacks. And it’s all been downhill from there…

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Dude… It was such a relief when George got suspended. At least it was for me. It’s hard to describe to people who weren’t following the Yankees back then. It was like “holy shit, we have the chance to get better and not be an embarrassment!”

        • Ed

          I believe you. But I was 8 and only just started following baseball closely when George got suspended, so I didn’t have the context to appreciate it the way you did.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            I hear you, I wasn’t too much older… I’m sure much of my opinion on the topic was formed in retrospect. I do remember, even then, having a feeling of despair about the Yankees as an organization, knowing that there was just something wrong with them and that once George was out of the picture it was like the skies opened and the sun started shining on the organization (apparently Mo was happy about it too, I guess).

        • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

          And who can forget the “George Must Go” chants. Such a depressing time to be a fan…

          Throw in the Mets championship in the mid-80’s and it’s a wonder I ever wore my Yankees cap in public.

          • whozat

            I remember being six or seven and being filled with disdain for all the kids who were suddenly Mets fans. My team sucked, but dammit I loved them.

    • whozat

      So, I’m 28. I followed the Yanks in the 80s, when they sucked. I stopped paying attention in about 91 or so and only came back in summer 2004 — honestly, my roommate was a Sox fan, and his passionate attention to their run at the Wild Card rekindled my interest in baseball and my childhood team.

      Thus, I missed most of the Steinbrenner ban and stuff. I also missed all the championships. So, my impression of George and his impact isn’t really tied to the series-winning teams.

      The thing for me is this…owning a bunch of championship teams isn’t really what makes an owner HOF-worthy. It’s impact on the game, right? I think that George brought the concept of Sports Empire to baseball. The team owning their own TV network, building relationships with teams in NPB, stuff like that. So, in that way, I think you can say that George has unquestionably left his mark on the game.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        I hear you… but George Steinbrenner didn’t come up with the concept of a team owning it’s tv station (it had been done before, numerous times, before YES was created). The Yankees get a lot of press for a lot of things just because they’re the biggest player in the market. The organization made a ton of money and George invested it right back into the team, and made more money. He really didn’t do much innovating.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          (ugh… “its”, not “it’s.” pet peeve)

        • whozat

          “I hear you… but George Steinbrenner didn’t come up with the concept of a team owning it’s tv station (it had been done before, numerous times, before YES was created).”

          In baseball? Successfully? I mean, it’s different than like…CBS owning a sports team, and thus having both a tv network and team owned by the same corporation. This is a team having it’s own propaganda outlet :-)

          • whozat

            And I mean “in baseball? successfully?” because I don’t know; I’m asking in seriousness, not rhetorically.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Just off the top of my head (so please someone correct me if I’m wrong), I’m pretty sure the Sox owned NESN before YES was created, the Orioles have owned their tv station for a while, the Cubs and WGN and the Braves and TBS (although that was more a coincedence of corporate ownership). I think the Orioles may have been the first organization to own the tv station carrying its games. Whatever… In the end, I’m pretty sure the Yanks didn’t come up with the idea, they just make a lot more money off of it since they’re the Yankees and because they play in the biggest market.

            • whozat

              It’s a fair point. But, there’s still the argument Ben makes below about the existence of revenue sharing and the growth of the game that has resulted, in significant part, from the presence of George at the helm of the Yankees.

              But, yes, he is also kind of a crazy person.

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

                No. George Steinbrenner is hypercompetitive, impulsive, hotheaded, meddlesome, and will resort to dirty politics and even cheating if it gets him a win.

                James Dolan is a “Crazy Person”.

              • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Ok, but do we really think revenue sharing and the growth of the game were spawned by George Steinbrenner? He just happened to have been the owner of the largest, biggest-spending team during that era. And those were, in part, reactions to the Yankees, it’s not like George Steinbrenner was an innovator in that sense. The Yankees (and other teams) just spent a ton of money and the game evolved with the times.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    The Hall of Fame case for Steinbrenner is a tough one. On the one hand, he’s had a largely unprecedented impact on the game. Because of him, we have institutionalized revenue sharing and rampant economic growth in the game. But at the same time, he was suspended twice for two pretty bad offenses and is generally considered to be a crazy person. You could make the case both for or against, and I don’t think you’d be wrong from a purely analytical perspective.

    That being said, I know a lot of people — my dad, included — who would rather see just about anything other than King George’s landing the Hall.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I’m with your dad. It can come off as cold to talk badly about the guy as he gets old and his condition worsens, but that doesn’t change my opinion of him or his impact on the organization. There’s a whole lot about this guy that can’t be sugar-coated.

  • Brad Kraus

    Don’t forget though before all of that was the (then) outrageous contract that he signed with MSG. He got 45 million/year for TV rights at a time when other teams were getting 1 million/year.

    At the end of the day, as owner, the team scored 6 world series wins. I started following the Yanks in ’73-’74 so I know all about the bad days, bad months, bad seasons but what other owner can claim that kind of success? The only other team that comes to mind is the Chicago Bulls and all of their championships came from one man over an 8 year period. No other owner is even close in terms of playoff appearances, and championships.

    Most non Yankee fans I know think he is an idiot but admit they would love to have them as the owner of their franchise. Look at it from an Orioles fan perspective. They have the idiot owner and no championships to show for it.

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

    I’d like to see him in the Hall just so he can be the only HoF’er TWICE suspended from the game. That’s so friggin AWESOME.

    Seamus O’Flaherty, Average Joe Sixpack Red Sox Fan: Hey, my Sawx won two titles this decade, and you didn’t! GO SAWX!

    Me: Yeah, well, the guy who ran my Yankees was such a crook that they banned him twice and he’s in the friggin HALL OF FAME with the other seventy-BILLION Yankees. How do YOU like DEM apples! Now go home and play with your SuperBowl XLII championship banne–


    • Brad K

      don’t forget his conviction for making illegal campaign contributions……to Nixon no less!

  • Bo

    How can one make the Hall when one was suspended from the game for hiring low lifes to dig up dirt on his own ballplayers.

    And we didn’t get good til he had his Timeout.

    Not to mention hiring Stump Merrill to manage.

    • Jack

      Ty Cobb once punched a man who had no hands.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

        Ty Cobb once stabbed a black nightwatchman.

        Why, you ask?

        Because said black nightwatchman was attempting to stop Cobb from beating a black elevator operator for being “uppity”.

        Sadly, I am not making this up.

  • mike G.

    Great post. I gotta forward it to all my old school homies that still scream for dave righetti!

  • Gary D

    Just the sight of the quintessential ass-kisser Ralp Houk makes me throwup. A fraud and phoney, and bench jockey who was a poor man’s insurance policy against Yogi Berra becoming injured and unable to play, Houk hung around long enough to be named manager in late 1960 when the Yanks, perhaps mercifully, sacked Casey Stengel. Inheriting practically an All-Star squad including Mickey, Roger, Yogi, Moose Skowron, Clete Boyer, Whitey, etc., Houk ran the Yankees as if he was still in the military. But I can never forgive Houk when, sometime in 1974 or 1975, he – there’s no proof but as Casey Stengel used to say you could look it up- he threw a game as manager of the Detroit Tigers against the Baltimore Orioles he pitched to Orioles’ fine hitter/DH Tommy Davis with a base open and Davis deleivered. Houk wanted the Orioles to win so that the Yankees would not make it to the playoffs. I can never forget that. Houk is a weasel.