Tuesday, July 13, 2010

George Steinbrenner Dead at 80

By Jon E. Easter

Just proving the old adage that no one is mean enough to escape the Grim Reaper, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is dead today at the age of 80.

Steinbrenner was famous for his outrageous behavior, his quick temper and his penchant for hiring and firing Yankee great Billy Martin. Steinbrenner was also famous for opening up his huge checkbook and paying whatever cost was necessary to bring the best players and talent to New York to play for the Yankees.

Steinbrenner took control of the Yankees in 1973. He turned the franchise back into a winner and essentially reconstructed Yankee Stadium reopening it in 1976. The midpoint of his term as owner saw things slip backwards as his mercurial nature was demonstrated at its best. In his later years, Steinbrenner mellowed, eventually handing off day-to-day control of the Yankees to his family, and, with this new more patient attitude, his team saw much success over recent times including a World Series title in 2009. It was the team's seventh title in his years as owner. A brand new $2.3 billion temple to the team, the new Yankee Stadium, opened last year.

Of course, the character of George Steinbrenner (as played by Larry David) played a huge role in the latter stages of the 90's sitcom, Seinfeld. Jason Alexander's character, George Costanza, got hired by Steinbrenner after essentially dressing him down for the way he had run the organization. Below is another scene. George was supposed to sign a birthday card for Steinbrenner and get it to a co-worker. Of course, circumstances ensued and that co-worker never signed the card because Kramer ended up having it mounted and framed. Like most things Seinfeld, it's tough to explain. Anyway, this is the end of the program. I love this scene. It's one of my favorites in the history of the show, and it's a not-so-tough-to-imagine description of what working for the real George Steinbrenner must have been like.

It's hard to believe the larger-than-life figure of George Steinbrenner is gone, but he is today at the age of 80.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

I love the scene where Kramer promises the kid in the hospital Paul O'Neill would hit two home runs in order to get the framed birthday card signed by the Yankees back.. They're listening to the game on the radio. O'Neill hits one home run and then hits an inside the park homer. The kids starts to hand the framed card to Kramer when the announcer says the last home run is actually socred as a triple and an error. The kid yanks the card back away from Kramer.