Remembering Steinbrenner

July 13th, 2010

Back when the Buccaneers were last for sale, Tampa icon George Steinbrenner assembled a group that entered a competitive bid to buy the Bucs.

Of course, Malcolm Glazer took home the prize with the fattest offer, and the rest is history.

With Steinbrenner dying today, Joe felt compelled to share a few Steinbrenner stories, as a way to remember the guy who was once motivated to buy the Bucs and keep them in Tampa.

Joe had many interactions with King George, as the New York tabloids often called him. Years ago, Joe was the Tampa Yankees beat writer for The Tampa Tribune. Those Yankees were the major league club’s A-ball affiliate.

Needless to say Joe typically was the only media guy at the games. Most nights it was just Joe and the Yankees famous pitching guru Billy Connors in the press box. So Joe subsequently learned an awful lot about evaluating pitchers — and about eating.

Occasionally, Steinbrenner would come down from his office at Legends Field to talk to Connors, and Steinbrenner was always extraordinarily respectful of Joe. Never talked down to him. And Joe remembers leaving the ballpark one night and seeing Steinbrenner picking up litter by hand in the parking lot. Yes, someone else’s garbage. A security guard later told Joe that this was not uncommon.

Joe also was the Tribune’s horse racing beat writer, and Steinbrenner once chewed Joe out at Tampa Bay Downs for continually referring to him in the newspaper as the owner of Kinsman Stable and for continuing to ask him to comment on the stable’s top horses.

Steinbrenner wanted Joe to give all credit related to the stable to his son Hank, who ran the stable and its breeding operation at that time.

Joe took a deep breath and explained to Steinbrenner that he was, in fact, the owner of Kinsman Stable and readers were much more interested in what he had to say rather than Hank. Joe told Steinbrenner that he wouldn’t stop referring to “George Steinbrenner’s Kinsman Stable.”

Steinbrenner proceeded to stare right through Joe’s skull. It was a long two seconds. Steinbrenner then slapped Joe on the back and told Joe to “keep up the hard work.”

Joe also remembers watching Steinbrenner handle the hecklers at the racetrack. Steinbrenner would walk right through the crowd and inevitably hear some Yankees jeers. He would often acknowledge the heckler and at times walk right up to him to talk it out.

It would have been a wild ride if Steinbrenner’s group bought the Bucs back in the mid 1990s.

While it’s doubtful the team would have enjoyed the success it had under Team Glazer, it’s also doubtful that Bucs fans would have been debating the team’s low-budget payroll for the past several years.

R.I.P., Mr. Steinbrenner.  

16 Responses to “Remembering Steinbrenner”

  1. eric Says:

    Mr. George’s philanthropic efforts are legendary here abouts. My nephew attends the High School named after him.

    I am not sure it is true, but I heard he even provided some funds to that Krispy kreme Donut shop that burned down on Kennedy. All because he used to drop by and get a hot donut on many mornings.

    One sign of a good heart is doing things for others and not taking a bow for it. What a great guy, sorry to see him pass.

  2. Gary Says:

    hmm… what might have been if he owned this team. Seeing that the Yankees are practically a baseball all-star team each year, it would have been fun.

    But of course you know we would be hearing “George is taking money from the Bucs to make Yankees payroll!” from certain people who shall remain nameless.

  3. Capt.Tim Says:

    The world turned a tad greyer, without George in it. A good friend to Tampa, he will be missed.

  4. big007hed Says:

    I am saddened to hear about the loss of George but I have to say I did not know of all the amazing things he did which is a testament to what kind of man he is….. I heard a quote from George on WDAE this morning where he explained why he was so philanthropic ” I don’t want to be the richest man in the cemetery” . Sad day.

  5. eric Says:

    Wasn;t the rumor at the time that George was going to bring in Lou Holtz if he got the team?

  6. Vera Says:

    We always enjoyed seeing Mr. Steinbrenner and his guests when they would join us for dinner at Derby Lane. He was always such a gentleman and everyone was in awe of him and enjoyed being part of the evening.

    George did so many charitable things in the area, not from a publicity standpoint, but from his heart. A very sad day, indeed.

  7. FIRE GREG OLSON! Says:

    Can’t you just honor Steinbrenner’s memory without pushing the “Glazers are cheap” agenda? That’s Bush League, Joe.

    RIP to “The Boss”, thanks for all you did for Baseball specifically, Sports in general and Tampa always…

  8. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    C’mon, Fire Greg Olson. I think you’re being way too sensitive. Just looking at — in two paragraphs — how the last 15 years would might have been different under Steinbrenner. Joe simply stated the obvious: he probably wouldn’t have had the success the Glazers had and would have spent more than them in recent years.

  9. George C. Costanza Says:

    How would Mr. Steinbrenner gotten around the NFL’s cross ownership prohibition, Joe?

    I respected his penchant for giving charitable donations without a fanfare of publicity, unlike some pro sports team owners who feel compelled to toot their own horn.

  10. George C. Costanza Says:

    (By the way, I had calzone today at lunch in honor of The Boss.)

  11. Sebring Smitty Says:

    Nice article Joe !!

  12. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Costanza – Hope you enjoyed the Calzone. …Quite certain Steinbrenner structured his bid so he specifically was not the majority owner to comply with the cross-ownership rules. ….Much the like the Glazers were toying with when they were interested in the Dodgers.

  13. BigMacAttack Says:

    Big shoes to fill. RIP

  14. tampa2 Says:

    I dissagree with you Joe. Had George bought the Bucs we would have had the same success, if not more! Just one look at the Yankees tells us what life with the Bucs would have been like. RIP George! You will be missed!

  15. Fire Greg Olson! Says:

    Joe,

    You can’t compare MLB and the NFL. Steinbrenner couldn’t have spent the same money on the Bucs as he did on the Yankees. That style has been proven faulty by Dan Snyder.

    Everyone loves Tony Dungy right? Well you can bet your ass that Steinbrenner wouldn’t have hired an unproven Defensive Coordinator.

  16. Jordi Scrubbings Says:

    Reference Eric’s comment, I also heard George gave willingly to the folks at the IHOP on Dale Mabry. BayNews9 reported that. You only live once, and obviously George ate what he wanted, but it allowed him to share his wealth.

 
 

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