True George could be the Yankees worst enemy at times and it's amazing how he nearly destroyed what ended up being something very special. But I'll say this - His heart was always in the right place - Win. Nothing else matters.
Unfortunately his son Hal cares more about marketing and revenue $$$$ than putting a winning team on the field. Then Hal has the nerve to lie to us as if we are dumb. It's offensive.
George was completely out of control in the 80s...he had turned the Yankees into a complete farce, with the constant meddling and "I must win now at all costs!" mantra. They had several eye-friendly won-lost seasons (George would often try to defend himself by crying, "But we won more games than anyone else in the 80s!"), but only made the playoffs in '80 and '81. The Yankees finally had that bottoming-out period in 1989-92, where they went 288-359 over four seasons, and articles were being written almost daily about bad George Steinbrenner was for the Yankees, how no one wanted to go to Yankee Stadium anymore...right up until he was suspended. That announcement was made during a Yankees game (I remember it clearly...Dave LaPoint was on the mound for the Yankees).
The one guy I've always respected above all as a Yankee fan is my uncle...he's now 56 or so, and I remember the late 80s/early 90s being really hard on him. My uncle has exactly three interests as far as I know: all forms of pub grub, golf (watching and playing), and the Yankees. That's it. The Yankees' losing was making him insane. But he still kept going to the games (he'd take me with him), still kept watching, still knew everything about every player on the team...he's as hardcore as a fan can get.
Three great memories I have watching baseball with him:
1985: The Blue Jays and Yankees were in a pennant race (Blue Jays would go 99-62 that season, Yanks were 97-64), and some guy was actually holding up a big "Go Blue Jays!" and parading around the lower deck of Yankee Stadium. I've never seen so much beer, food, trash, and got knows what else thrown at one person...the ushers finally took him away, but not before more crap found its way hurled onto him. As he was being led towards the concourse, some Yankee fan got a hold of the sign, tore it in half, handed it back to him, and said "Now go fvck yourself wid it!" Only in NY. As a 15-year-old who was growing up in bumblefvck at the time, I remember thinking "Wow...damn"
1987: Jays and Yanks again. Al Leiter had just recently been called up, and was already being compared to Ron Guidry. He knocked down George Bell and struck him out. Bell was plenty pissed and hit what seemed like a 600-foot home run off Leiter his next time up. Jimmy Key started for the Jays (he went 17-6 that season and led the AL in ERA at 2.76), and left in the 6th with the bases loaded (2 runs in 5 innings). A portly rookie left-hander came in and got a pop-up and a double play (I think) to get out of the jam without giving up a run. That portly lefty was David Wells.
Box score from the game: http://www.baseball-...198709200.shtml
Had it wrong, Wells came and got a double play, then a strikeout to end the inning. Oh well, I was close. Was only 26 years ago.
1996: My uncle could throw a tantrum and lose it as quickly as anyone. The Yanks were down 3-0 after the first inning to the Seattle Mariners, and veins were already popping in my uncle's forehead (along with bulging eyes). I remember saying, "Geez, mellow out, it's still early, you've got Pettitte going." Well, other than a HR to A-Rod in the 6th, Pettitte didn't give up another hit the rest of the way (only allowed 3 hits total in a CG effort), and the Yankees banged out 16 hits and 10 runs and won handily. Needless to say my uncle felt kind of stupid for losing it after one half-inning.
Box score from the game: http://www.baseball-...199608190.shtml
Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976, 27 September 2013 - 12:22 PM.