Yankees News: George Steinbrenner years would make a great ESPN docuseries
By Joel Wagler
The biggest New York Yankees news over the past century was when George Steinbrenner purchased the team in 1973.
George Steinbrenner made New York Yankees news when he bought the franchise for $10 million in 1973. He remained in control of the franchise until 1990 when, according to the Baseball Almanac, Fay Vincent ordered his removal.
"In 1990, baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent ordered the Yankees owner to resign as the club’s general partner and shockingly banned him from the day-to-day operations of the team for life."
Steinbrenner returned to the helm three years later, then was removed permanently in 1997 when the executive baseball council voted him out. He passed away in 2010.
The George Steinbrenner years would make a great ESPN docuseries.
With the overwhelming success of ESPN’s enthralling docuseries The Last Dance about Michael Jordon and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls, the sports network should be exploring every option for more intriguing topics.
According to an ESPN press release, The Last Dance is averaging 5.8 million viewers an episode through the first six. Sure, some of that is driven by the fact there is no other sports entertainment to be found right now. It is also because of the subject matter and compelling storytelling.
When George Steinbrenner took over the Yankees, the team had missed the postseason for eight straight seasons. He had them turned around by his fourth season. From 1976 through 1981, the Yankees made it to the postseason five times, the World Series four times, and took home the crown twice.
Then things unraveled. They did not see the playoffs again until 1995. In 1990, it was big Yankees news when Steinbrenner was forced out, though he returned a few years later. The Boss was back in control in 1995 when the Yankees started their fantastic run of thirteen straight postseason appearances. Their extended run including playoff action in 17 years out of 18. Over that time, New York went to seven World Series, winning six.
When building the powerhouse of the late seventies and early eighties, Steinbrenner brought in big-name (and big money) players like Reggie Jackson, Jim (Catfish) Hunter, and Dave Winfield.
He also hired and fired the inflammable manager Billy Martin five times. He made 22 managerial changes, and five managers saw multiple stints during this time.
All of this leads to a provocative idea for a docuseries about the most successful franchise in American sports history, with riveting real-life characters.
Of course, ESPN already kind of covered this topic with its eight-part television drama The Bronx is Burning in 2007. The docuseries format, however, would allow much more depth and storytelling, with interviews involving key people who were in the dugout and clubhouse, and behind the scenes.
All of the blow-ups, the dugout fights, the drama – this would be fantastic viewing in the docuseries format.
People would watch. If the story of Jordon and the Bulls can be this much fun, imagine how much we would enjoy the story of George Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees.