If I were to say yesterday’s news of the passing of George Steinbrenner was a complete and total surprise, I would be lying through my teeth. Over the last few years, I’ve almost prepared myself for this moment. I was even shocked that Big Stein made it to and through 2009.
As I mentioned in my brief remembrance of Bob Sheppard, I’m relatively young as Yankee fans go. As I’m just 23 (B. 6/15/1987…am I the youngest writer on the site? I think so…), my memories of Mr. Steinbrenner are rather limited. I wasn’t born when he took over the team and was a toddler when he was banned from the game, only to be reinstated later on. The tirades I remember are few and far between. There are two things I truly remember him for.
The first is simply his presence. The picture at the top of this post embodies that best. Whenever you were at the game, you knew the Boss was likely in the house, cheering just as much as you were. There was also the pop-culture George: the headlines in the tabloids, the parodied version of himself on Seinfeld, the SNL episode, the Visa ad with Jeter. Public George was one with which I was very familiar. But, of course, that isn’t the thing that I’ll remember most about Mr. S.
The thing I’ll remember most, as I’m sure all of you will, is his constant, unending, unyielding, and incessant desire to win. We may have disagreed with his moves or the style in which he made them, but his intentions–at least to him–were always good and aimed at helping the Yankees to win. Fans of other teams may have complained about his antics or his big spending ways, but deep down, they knew they wanted George to own their teams as well. As Yankee fans, we are lucky that our favorite team had an owner willing to do anything and stop at nothing to make sure his team was the very best. It was and still is. Hopefully, it still will be. That would be the best tribute to George M. Steinbrenner III the Yankees could do. Rest in Peace, Mr. Steinbrenner. You will be–and already are–sorely missed.
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