Meet the new Boss, not the same as the old Boss


I saw only bits and pieces of the George Steinbrenner Yankeeography this week. At some point, I’ll sit down and watch this entire odd to the Boss, but what I saw was reminiscent of a distinct era in Yankee history, one long gone.

The Boss of the 1970s and 1980s was a man unto himself. He was loud and brash. He wanted the Yankees; he wanted headlines; he wanted championships. Despite his early promises of hands off management, he courted controversy and attention as a moth to a flame.

Steinbrenner’s shenanigans worked in the late 1970s as the Yankees won. The team members hated each other, and many players had a love-hate relationship with their boss – the Boss. Yet, the Bronx Zoo years remains one of the more colorful eras in Yankee and New York history, and nostalgia for that era reigns supreme. Whether we should yearn for those days of Billy and Thurmon and Reggie is another question entirely.

In the 1980s, a few years removed from the Yanks’ last world title, George wore thin. He hired, fired and rehired managers on a whim and was impatient with his GMs. A revolving door of players came and went, oftentimes in a matter of months as George tried to put together a team according to his and his so-called Baseball People’s ideas, and the farm system was neglected. The Yanks won more regular season games in the 1980s than any other AL team but post-season success eluded them.

In the 1990s, a new Boss emerged. Suspended at the start of the decade, George couldn’t interfere, and Gene Michael, Brian Cashman and the Yanks’ Front Office were free from the constraints and demands of the Boss. A last-place finish in 1991 guanranteed them Derek Jeter in the following year’s draft, and the rest is history.

George came back and let his employees run the team. He would roar, but it was all for show. No one was fired, and the good times rolled.

Today, George is ailing. Rumors of Alzheimer’s have swirled around him for the better part of the decade, and he rarely makes appearances at games. He speaks primarily through Howard Rubenstein and has turned control of the team over to his sons and daughters.

This week though George showed up at the office for a few hours, and he made some headlines. Promising to come to New York for the playoffs, he said, “Let’s keep it going.”. And that was it. No threats if failure follows; no promises of an easy October. Just a weak encouragement.

Once upon a time, we would yearn for George-inspired stories. Nothing makes for better headline fodder than a roaring lion. But that’s not George anymore. His influence is on the wane, and while we might pine for the Boss-inspired Years of Terror, the Yankees are better off without it.

Categories : Front Office


  1. Bo says:

    Who yearns for the old Boss besides sports writers? They have won a lot more since he returned from his suspension and he was forced to become the new Boss.

  2. miketotheg says:

    That seemed like two different posts in one. It seemed like praise but then you say the Yankees are “better off without him”. I couldn’t disagree more.

    I for one think New York City owes Mr. Steinbrenner a debt of gratitude. For all the headlines, drama and desire to put together a winning team. He did so much for the city and I can’t for the life of me think of a bad thing to say about him. Of course he could’ve done this or should have done that. He is a baseball icon and he is at the dawn of days.

    • whozat says:

      You can’t think of anything bad to say? The man was at times abusive to his employees, he had players followed to dig up dirt on them, and wasn’t he involved in some kind of bribery scandal or something?

      • miketotheg says:

        nobody’s perfect.

        • whozat says:

          No one said anyone was. You said you couldn’t, for the life of you, think of a bad thing to say about him.

          That’s a pretty far cry from “nobody’s perfect”

          • miketotheg says:

            i was thinking the sum of the parts, not really the ugly bits. so he was a bastard. undiplomatic. tactless. occasionally crazier than a tree full of monkeys on nitrus oxide. i guess i could think of alot of bad things to say about him. but i prefer to focus on the positives. He might not live to see the end of the year.

            nobody’s perfect.

            • Nobody's Perfect Strike One says:

              George was convicted of illegal political campaign contribution to Richard Nixon. He made 10 low level employees accept $5000 checks and then make $3000 “individual” contributions, and then tried to cover it up when investigated. Red flags went off because their annual salaries were only $15,000, so they weren’t in a position to “give” such a high percentage of their salary.

  3. Jose says:

    Mr. Steinbrenner will always have a huge role in Yankees history. I believe that without a doubt he is the single most important man of the entire organization of the last 35 years.

    The turnover rate of players, managers, general managers, and owners has always been high. Mr. Steinbrenner has always been fickle, but the one constant in baseball over the last 35 or so years? The Boss having ownership of the Yankees.

    I admire the man greatly and cannot honestly say anything negative about what he has meant to the Yankees.

  4. Drew says:

    The Yankeeography is must see TV. While they may have avoided some controversial issues, there is a time and a place for it, not right now IMO. Gotta love the boss, hopefully he’ll be able to travel to the Bronx and watch us win some games in October.

  5. Moshe Mandel says:

    Whatever you say about George and all the bad stuff he may have done, the fact is that his priority was always winning, something that cannot be said for many owners. I tip my cap to him.

  6. Slu says:

    I am a fan on George. He care more about winning then money, which can’t be said for the owners of all teams. I am grateful that The Boss owns the Yankees.

  7. Kiersten says:

    “If Mark McGwire is hitting 60 homers, the only thing that matters is his performance,” Arroyo said, according to USA Today. “People don’t own teams to lose money. If you ask any owner whether they would rather make $20 million and come in last place or lose $20 million and win a World Series, there’s only one guy who honestly would take that championship: George Steinbrenner. Nobody else.”

    • jsbrendog says:

      so true. arroyo ftw

    • Jose says:

      Awesome quote. What more could you want as a fan?

    • whozat says:

      I think Arroryo is right, and I am thankful to have been a fan of a team whose owner in nigh fanatical about winning. At times it was detrimental to the Yanks because he thought he knew more than he did about how to GM a team. At times, he did bad things in his life. I’m just saying that we as fans can and should be thankful for his devotion to winning while still taking a clear view of the flawed man that is George Steinbrenner.

    • miketotheg says:

      GREAT quote.

    • Ed says:

      Great to see him say that. I think he’s completely right there. I just wish more people would call out the Marlins for being so far on the other end of the spectrum.

      Baseball is a business, and you really can’t fault someone who owns a business worth hundreds of millions of dollars for caring about profit, but, baseball really should do something to at least weed out the owners who care as little as the Marlins do.

      I see how people can complain about the Yankees having the highest revenues and simultaneously being willing to spend so much on payroll that they take a loss, but, it’s just not right for the Marlins to twist the system as much as they do. Driving payroll so low that you’re guaranteed a profit just from the money other teams give you regardless of your own profit just isn’t right.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

        meh, i’m torn…

        baseball fan says ‘strike out the bum’ for owners like that…

        libertarian says ‘its his. stfu.’

        you’ll have to excuse the libertarian side, he doesnt get out much, and therefor doesnt have what we call ‘the social skills.’

  8. Imagine Mark Cuban and the Boss dueling. It would be like Arnie trying to take down Hulk Hogan. Or The Hills.

  9. Ivan says:

    Is George Steinbrenner a HOFer?

    The arguement is there rite?

    The only blemishes is of course is the suspensions and bans.

  10. sabes says:

    “he courted controversy and attention as a moth to a flame.”

    This makes no sense.

  11. Ed says:

    A last-place finish in 1991 guanranteed them Derek Jeter in the following year’s draft, and the rest is history.

    They finished in 5th place in 1991. The AL East had 7 teams at the time. They picked Jeter with the 6th overall pick. I believe they were paranoid Cincinnati would pick him with the 5th pick, but they picked Chad Mottola.

    The Yankees finished last in 1990, and picked Brien Taylor with the #1 overall pick in 1991.

  12. Reggie C. says:

    So does RAB regard Hal Steinbrenner as the new Boss?

  13. Kiko Jones says:

    At aprox. 90 mins, the Steinbrenner Yankeeography goes on too long, and is more of a video PR release or obit than any thing else; glossing over controversy and over-glorifying GMS III. Yes, we should all be grateful that we root for a team whose owner is all about winning and puts his money where his mouth is. But he’s not the almost saintly figure that the Yankeeograpghy paints him as. If I, being a passionate Yankee fan found it to be a bit much, I can see others who lack the same investment as myself being turned off by it. Don’t get me wrong, there were some nice moments. But when I found out it would be 90 mins. in length, I knew it would be long on the worship and not much else.

    Re: Bronson Arroyo. Truer words…

    Btw, you guys at RAB need a proofreader/spell checker. You hiring?

  14. Mike44 says:

    Can we make a separate post for Papelbon being fined for his endless time between pitches? I’m glad he is getting hit in the wallet for the time it takes to stimy up the energy to put on that fradulent stare.

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