Yankees: George Steinbrenner belongs in the Hall of Fame
The Yankees former owner, George Steinbrenner, did everything he could to produce a winner for the fans who followed his team. And if that isn’t the measurement an owner should be judged by, then someone, please tell me, what is?
Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner is tarnished somewhat by the fact that he bought the team for a penny and built it into a franchise worth billions today. But his legacy should be directed elsewhere. And because of his abrasive personality and willingness to do battle with his fellow owners, there’s a prejudicial element as to how he has been treated when it comes to his inclusion in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
And I have no idea at this point how Steinbrenner gets in there, and I don’t care. Someone somehow needs to make it happen.
The fire and the brimstone that Steinbrenner brought to baseball is something lost as you look around the league today
And whether it’s by a special election held by the Veteran’s Committee, or what they now have dubbed, the Era’s Committee, or by an Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump, or a fiat commanded by Commissioner Manfred, it makes no difference to me.
This is a man who had a singular goal in life that topped all the other ones he had already surpassed as a billionaire shipbuilder. And he let nothing stop him, even to the point of bouncing back from a humiliating, yet very questionable suspension in 1990.
Never to be denied, he came back to pour it on in the face of the owners who never came to bat for him, by delving into the free agent market and mind you, spending his own money to bring in a host of players, including Darryl Strawberry, Tim Raines, Tino Martinez, David Cone, Cecil Fielder, and a few others that would propel the Yankees to their first World Series title since 1978.
To make a point, let’s digress for a minute and take a look at the Los Angeles Angels, who reside in a market where they can’t possibly draw under three million fans a year to their ballpark in Anaheim.
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Here’s a team that George Steinbrenner would lick his chops over. The Angels have, we’ll say arguably, the best player in baseball today in Mike Trout. They have an owner in Arte Moreno, who I penned a story about titled “The twisted logic of Arte Moreno” when writing for Call To The Pen six months ago.
Unlike Steinbrenner, Moreno has done nothing to build his team around Trout by spending money to bring in winning players to complement Trout.
And the result is that Trout sits there as the least recognizable future Hall of Famer in all of baseball, with nothing to protect him in the lineup save for another financial debacle that Moreno acceded to in Albert Pujols, who will be in his forties when his contract expires.
And lest we mention the $26 million that Moreno is still paying Josh Hamilton, who failed his last test for a comeback with the Texas Rangers this spring. You can’t make this stuff up.
So there’s the contrast set before baseball. Not that anyone would ever consider Arte Moreno for a place in the Hall, but you see the differences.
Hal’s not George, but no one can be George
The current owner or we should say managing partner, of the Yankees, is George’s son Hal. He’s not his dad in any way, shape, or form. He answers to his partners and the whole idea today is to increase the bankrolls of those same people. So be it.
Hal may or may not have the money to bankroll the team today. We’ll never know. But in no way does he appear to resemble his dad who would look at the Yankees today asking Brian Cashman only one question, “Okay, what do you need? And make it happen.”
To be sure, the Yankees lost something intangible when George Steinbrenner passed at the age of 80 in 2010.
The fire and the brimstone that Steinbrenner brought to baseball is something lost as you look around the league today. His appearances in the dugout and the clubhouse drew the attention of his players quicker than a fastball on the corner thrown by Justin Verlander.
The Yankees Twenty-Five Most Memorable Home Runs
In the Yankees storied history, twenty-five of their home runs stand out as moments in time never to be forgotten and always treasured by baseball fans.
Today, the Wilpons lament their losses over their ill-fated relationship with Bernie Madoff, while their team squanders hopelessly in need of certified major league players. And Moreno collects the cash from the LA faithful for doing absolutely nothing.
Isn’t something wrong with this picture? And isn’t it time to finally correct a wrong that reminds of the kid’s playground where Johnny always sits on the sidelines because “no one likes him?” Much like Ty Cobb, who was perceived as a racist and a bully, the truth doesn’t match the perception.
It may be too late to repair Cobb’s reputation, but at least he is in the Hall of Fame. George Steinbrenner deserves, minimally, the same.